Star Goalie's Career Takes Unexpected Turn in Russia

Ivan Fedotov, under contract with Philadelphia Flyers, detained over military service at home
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2022 7:57 AM CDT
Star Goalie's Career Takes Unexpected Turn in Russia
Russian Olympic Committee goalkeeper Ivan Fedotov skates across the ice to receive his silver medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

(Newser) – Ivan Fedotov is a 25-year-old star goalie in Russia who seemed destined to duplicate the feat in the NHL, especially after the Philadelphia Flyers signed him to a contract in May. Now, however, his hockey future is very much in doubt—he was detained last week in Russia as a "draft dodger" and may have been forced into military service, reports the Moscow Times. Coverage:

  • The player: Fedotov helped lead the Russian team to a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics and has been "brilliant" in his Russian league, per a profile in the Bucks County Courier Times. The NHL's Flyers saw him as a "secret weapon" and signed him to a $925,000 entry-level contract. He was on track to be the team's back-up goalie next season.

  • Detention: On Friday, Fedotov was detained outside an arena in St. Petersburg on charges he evaded military service, reports Reuters. All Russian men between 18 and 27 must serve at least one year, per Philly Voice, and failure to do so carries a two-year prison term. "In our law there is military duty," says a Kremlin spokesman, per AFP. "So any emotional comments on this are absolutely inappropriate."
  • Illness: Fedotov's attorney, Alexei Ponomaryev, says the goalie was hospitalized on Friday with gastritis brought on by the stress of his arrest, per the Moscow Times. The attorney says neither he nor the player's parents were allowed to see him, and he was told that the goalie was moved in the middle of the night to the arctic town of Severomorsk, where a Russian naval fleet is based.
  • In service: Fedotov “is already in Severomorsk for military service,” the state-run TASS news agency reported, per the Moscow Times. “His presumed location for deployment will be one of the military units on Novaya Zemlya [archipelago] in the Arctic Ocean." Newsweek reports that images purportedly of the player in military uniform have surfaced.
  • Now what? Whether Fedotov, who was born in Finland, can get out of military duty and avoid prosecution remains unclear. His attorney denies the allegation that he illegally avoided conscription. "We're aware of the reports and are investigating the situation," says a spokesman for the Flyers. The NHL, which has cut ties with Russia but not with the dozens of Russian players in the league, has been similarly mum.
(Read more Russia stories.)

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