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|27 сентября 2012 года. |
Fight brewing over Yakupov's playing rights during lockout // The Globe and Mail
Nail Yakupov could be forced to return to the OHL if he wants to continue playing during the NHL lockout.
The flashy forward was suspended by the Russian-based Continental Hockey League (KHL) on Wednesday, after it was revealed he didn't secure a transfer card to join Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk.
The International Ice Hockey Federation ruled he played illegally when he suited up for his hometown team in two games this month, casting doubt over the immediate future of the NHL's most recent No. 1 draft pick.
At issue is who controls his playing rights.
Hockey Canada, which refused to sign off on Yakupov's transfer, and the Canadian Hockey League both believe he belongs with the Sarnia Sting. That issue was raised to the IIHF this week, during its general congress in Tokyo, according to CHL president David Branch.
"Some of us were a little surprised when Yakupov appeared in a couple of games on the weekend in the KHL without any prior knowledge of anybody with Hockey Canada, the CHL and/or the Sarnia Sting," Branch said.
Yakupov spent the last two OHL seasons with the Sting and made a commitment for a third - provided he wasn't in the NHL - according to a source close to the situation.
Clearly, the player and his representatives do not agree.
Rather than reporting to the Sting when the Edmonton Oilers assigned his rights to the junior club on Sept. 15, the day the NHL lockout began, he boarded a plane for Russia. That came as little surprise since Yakupov had told reporters at the end of August the only reason he'd go to Sarnia this year was "just for a visit."
On Wednesday afternoon, he posted a message to his Twitter account in Russian that said he believes he'll be able to continue playing for his hometown team in the KHL and that "everything will be worked out in the near future."
Multiple phone calls to Yakupov's agent, Igor Larionov, and Sting general manager Jacques Beaulieu weren't immediately returned.
It appears the IIHF will ultimately end up having to make a ruling in the case. On Tuesday, the sport's governing body levied a fine of 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,200) against the Russian hockey federation as punishment for allowing Yakupov to play in the KHL without proper documentation. It also warned of stiffer penalties for both the player and federation if it happened again.
"Playing without an approved [transfer card] following an international transfer request is a breach of IIHF transfer regulations," spokesman Szymon Szemberg said. The Russian federation has until Oct. 1 to form a response on the matter.
Yakupov's case is unique because the 18-year-old Russian was drafted as a North American-based player. He signed an entry-level deal with the Oilers over the summer and those contracts include a clause that states junior-eligible players may only appear in the NHL or CHL.
Yakupov was a dominant force during his time in the OHL, scoring 80 goals and 170 points in 107 career games for the Sting.