A Russian hockey player who recently signed with the Philadelphia Flyers has been detained in Russia on charges of planning to evade military service, according to Russian media reports.
Ivan Fedotov, a 6-foot-7 goaltender, signed with the Flyers on May 7 and was expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp in the fall. He played for the Russian Olympic Committee at that year’s Winter Games in Beijing, where he helped the team win a silver medal.
A National Hockey League spokesperson said the league was aware of the situation but would not comment further.
Chuck Fletcher, president of hockey operations and general manager of Philadelphia, said in a statement that the Flyers “are aware of the reports and are investigating the situation.”
Fedotov was apparently arrested on Friday, the same day the trial of American basketball star Brittney Griner began in Russia.
Griner has been held by the Russians since February, when she was detained at a Moscow airport for carrying in her luggage what Russian officials said were vape cartridges with traces of hash oil. Griner supporters say Russian authorities are using him as a bargaining chip with the United States, which supported Ukraine during the Russian invasion of the country.
Fedotov, 25, was born in Finland and raised in Russia. He spent the last year with CSKA Moscow, a team which has a history of links with the Russian military. It is also one of the best club teams in the KHL, Russia’s premier hockey league.
According to Russian media reports on Friday, Fedotov was arrested at an ice rink in St. Petersburg and taken to an army enlistment office. Young Russian men must complete one year of military service.
Russian goaltenders have become the NHL’s elite goaltenders in recent years, led by stars like Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Igor Shesterkin of the Rangers and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers. Many NHL teams are eager to find Russia’s next big goaltender, although Fedotov’s detention may raise concerns about the future of that pipeline.
This year, Fedotov helped CSKA Moscow win the Gagarin Cup, the KHL championship, and was widely recognized as the league’s top goaltender with a 2.00 goals-against average. On the day the Flyers signed him, Fletcher noted his recent success and improvement since the team drafted him.
“Ivan is a player we’ve followed closely and we’re very happy with his development,” Fletcher said at the time. “He had several solid seasons in the KHL, culminating this year when he won an Olympic silver medal and a KHL championship.