Who is Ivan Fedotov? Ice hockey star ARRESTED AND FORCED into Russian army after $1.1M deal with Flyers

Ivan Fedotov was arrested at a St Petersburg hockey rink in Russia on charges of evading military service


                            Who is Ivan Fedotov? Ice hockey star ARRESTED AND FORCED into Russian army after $1.1M deal with Flyers
Goalkeeper Ivan Fedotov reacts while leaving the rink after defeating Team Denmark 3-1 in the Men’s Ice Hockey Quarterfinal match on day 12 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Wukesong Sports Centre on Feb 1 (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Olympian silver medallist Ivan Fedotov, who got arrested at a St Petersburg hockey rink in Russia on charges that he planned to evade military service on July 1 after he signed a deal worth $1.1 million in May with National Hockey League (NHL) team Philadelphia Flyers, has now been drafted into the Russian army to fight in Ukraine.

As per DailyMail, the 25-year-old Fedotov, one of Russia’s best goalkeepers and a member of the national team, signed an entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers of the US National Hockey League and planned to quit his Russian club, Central Sport Club of the Army (CSKA), to play in the United States. Following this deal, Russian officials met the player at the exit of an ice arena in St Petersburg on July 1 and "invited him to go to the military registration and enlistment office" where he was accused of seeking to dodge the military draft, as reported by Russian online newspaper Fontanka.

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A source told the Russian outlet that the military prosecutor's office believed that "there are sufficient grounds to consider Fedotov an army evader”. Despite being born in Finland and raised in Russia, his involvement with CSKA as a player makes him considered for the military, said one report.

Military rules in Russia

All Russian men aged between 18 and 27 must undergo one-year compulsory military service. And only Russians aged between 18 and 40 and foreigners aged between 18 and 30 were able to enlist as professional soldiers in the Russian military. However, this rule got modified in May this year where Russian lawmakers passed a bill that removes age limits for professional soldiers joining the military. Lawmakers in the State Duma lower house approved the bill in three readings in a single session, with the upper house, the Federation Council, giving its assent shortly after. The bill now needs only the signature of President Vladimir Putin to become law, as per Reuters.

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Who is Ivan Fedotov?

The Finnish-born ice hockey goaltender made his KHL debut playing with HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk during the 2014–15 KHL season on December 12, 2014. He spent last year with CSKA Moscow, a team that has its roots in the Russian army. It is also one of the top club teams in the KHL, Russia’s premier hockey league. Following the 2018–19 season, Fedotov was traded to Traktor Chelyabinsk on 6 May 2019. On May 2, 2021, the player left Traktor after two seasons when he was traded to CSKA Moscow in exchange for financial compensation.

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Fedotov also played on Russia's 2022 Olympic team at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, winning a silver medal as the starting goaltender.