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July 04, 2022

Flyers prospect Ivan Fedotov sent to Arctic after forced conscription into Russian military, reports say

The goalie was briefly hospitalized for gastritis on Friday before he was shipped off. He signed an entry-level NHL contract with Philadelphia for $925,000 in May

After he was reportedly detained and forced to enlist in the Russian military on Friday, Flyers goalie prospect Ivan Fedotov was briefly hospitalized before he was shipped off to serve in the country's Far North.

Fedotov suffered gastritis beginning Friday due to the stress of being detained and conscripted in St. Petersburg, his lawyer Alexei Ponomaryev said. The attorney said he and Fedotov's parents were both barred from visiting him in the hospital, the Moscow Times reports.

Then in the middle of the night, the goalie was transported from the hospital to Severomorsk, an arctic town of about 50,000 which is the administrative base of the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet, the attorney said. It's also about a three hour drive from the border with Finland, where Fedotov was born.

From there, Ponomaryev said he will likely be sent to Novaya Zemlya, a remote archipelago off Russia's northern coast.

There have been conflicting reports that Fedotov was sent to Severodvinsk, which is about 700 miles southeast of Severodvinsk in the Arkhangelsk region, according to Newsweek.

In Russia, all men between the ages of 18 and 27 are required to complete at least one year of military service. Evading conscription is punishable by up to two years in prison.

"In our law there is military duty. So any emotional comments on this are absolutely inappropriate," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to a Barron's report.

Ponomaryev has maintained that Fedotov did not evade conscription.

The player signed an entry-level, one-year contract with the Flyers for $925,000 on May 7 and announced his plans to move to the U.S. The team hoped he would become the backup goalie for Carter Hart, said General Manager Chuck Fletcher. Fedotov was first drafted by Philadelphia in 2015 as their seventh round pick and 188th pick overall.

He has played professionally in his home country since 2014, most recently with HC CSKA, a professional team in Moscow run by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Last season, Fedotov helped CSKA win the KHL's Gargarin Cup and won the league's top goalie award. He posted a .919 save percentage and allowed exactly 2 goals per game.

Fedotov was also on the Russian Olympic Committee team that won the silver medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022. He boosted his save percentage to .943 during his Olympic run.

Getting Fedotov out of Russia and to Philadelphia became more complicated after the invasion of Ukraine but the Flyers were still expecting him to make it to the U.S., Fletcher said.

"We're aware of the reports and are investigating the situation," he said on Friday.

An NHL spokesperson released a similar statement, acknowledging the situation in Russia and declining to discuss it further.

The invasion of Ukraine has put the NHL in a tough position. While the league condemned the Russian attack, it has not barred players from the country and doesn't want them to be uncomfortable in North America or put in positions where their families may be in danger, the Athletic reported.

The NHL did create a rule prohibiting NHL players from traveling to Russia with the Stanley Cup to celebrate.