Consequences of the NHL lockout are now affecting players on both sides of the Atlantic.
Today, the IIHF ruled that Edmonton Oilers first-round draft pick Nail Yakupov cannot play for his KHL team, Neftekhimik. The core problem stems from the fact that Yakupov did not have an approved International Transfer Card (ITC) when he played two games on the team.
Hockey Canada was supposed to approve the ITC, but they did not because they believe Yakupov’s rights remain with the Sarnia Sting, the OHL team for whom he played last season. The Oilers had approved of Yakupov playing in Russia but transferred him to Sarnia when they shifted younger players to the AHL and junior leagues prior to the lockout.
The Oilers maintain that it’s not their intention to keep Yakupov from playing. They claim that his transfer to Sarnia was simply a clerical error on the their part. According to Igor Larionov, Yakupov’s agent, they gave Yakupov the green light to play. Because he is only 18, he is not eligible to play in the AHL.
Because Yakupov has already played two games without an ITC, the Russian Hockey Federation has been fined 5000 Swiss Francs, which converts to $5314.17 USD. He is also barred from playing until the IIHF approves a transfer card. If he should play any more games without it, he could face suspension and the Russian Hockey Federation would risk harsher sanctions.
The IIHF has given the Russian Hockey Federation until October 1 to appeal. Once all appeals on the matter have been made, an ITC will be approved or denied.