Edmonton Oilers 2012 first round pick, Nail Yakupov, has been barred from playing in anymore games in Russia’s KHL. The 18 year old has already played in two games for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, but apparently he never acquired an international transfer card which is required by the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) in order for him to be eligible to play professional hockey in Europe.
IIHF spokesmen, Szymon Szemberg released a statement saying Yakupov is no longer allowed to participate in KHL games because he never acquired an ITC, “Playing without an approved ITC following an international transfer request is a breach of IIHF transfer regulations”.
Yakupov never got an ITC because reportedly his current hockey federation, Hockey Canada, never signed off on it. According to a source on ESPN.com, it’s been confirmed that Hockey Canada never signed off on the ITC for Yakupov because they feel he belongs with his junior club, the Sarnia Sting, with whom he is under contract with through the 2012-13 season. They believe he would be better served playing junior hockey in Canada rather than professional hockey in Europe. I wonder if they would’ve had a problem if he was currently playing preseason NHL games for the Oilers?
Yakupov’s case is currently under review and for the time being he is not being allowed to play in anymore games. If he does participate in anymore games the KHL could face stricter and stiffer sanctions from the IIHF. Again we go back to the IIHF’s statement on the matter, “In accordance with IIHF regulations, the IIHF has sanctioned the Russian Ice Hockey Federation with a fine of and informed the RHF to withdraw the player from further competition in order not to risk stronger sanctions, including sanctions of the player, pending the final decision of the IIHF’s appeal procedure”.