Nail Yakupov’s KHL eligibility has come under fire from the International Ice Hockey Federation.
According to a statement released by the IIHF, the Edmonton Oilers draftee joined — and played two games for — KHL club Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk without an approved transfer card.
Here’s the IIHF’s explanation, courtesy Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov:
The ITC was not signed by Hockey Canada and was thus not approved by the IIHF. Playing without an approved ITC following an international transfer request is a breach of IIHF transfer regulations.
At this time, being that Hockey Canada did not approve Nail Yakupov’s ITC, his case is in appeal procedures. Until appeal procedures are complete and a decision regarding his transfer to Russia is made, an ITC will not be approved or denied by the IIHF.
In accordance with IIHF regulations the IIHF has sanctioned the Russian Ice Hockey Federation with a fine of 5.000 CHF and informed the RHF to withdraw the player from further competition in order not to risk stronger sanctions, including sanctions (suspension) of the player, pending the final decision of the IIHF’s appeal procedure.
In accordance with IIHF regulations, the Russian Ice Hockey Federations has seven days (1 October 2012) to respond to Hockey Canada’s appeal.
(CHF is Swiss Francs — 5,000 works out to being approximately $5,314.17 USD.)
According to Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press, the reason Hockey Canada didn’t sign off on Yakupov’s ITC is because it believes his rights remain with OHL Sarnia — Yakupov’s junior club for the last two seasons.
The Oilers are not believed to be blocking Yakupov’s move to Russia, even though they assigned him to Sarnia in mid-September. That was simply a clerical move, according to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal:
There was a feeling the Oilers might be blocking the 18-year-old from playing in the Kontinental Hockey League because they had assigned him to his old junior team, the Sarnia Sting, but that’s not true, according to team sources. That was simply a paper transaction because Yakupov has junior eligibility left.
If the first-overall pick in the June draft wants to play in Russia, that’s fine with them. This is what the kid wants, what Larionov wants after talking informally with the NHL club over the summer, and the Oilers weren’t about to play hardball and tell Yakupov he has to stay in North America.
If anything, the Oilers could be genuinely displeased with the IIHF ruling. TSN’s Darren Dreger notes the club wanted Yakupov playing during the lockout, presumably so he could join the team as soon as the season starts up.