Nail Yakupov, the first player taken in the NHL Draft this June, has been suspended from playing in the KHL until an IIHF investigation into his transfer is resolved.
The KHL said Wednesday said the 18-year-old, who has played two games for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, his hometown team, after his contract was registered last Thursday, can't play again until the International Ice Hockey Federation has given its approval. The IIHF said Yakupov appeared in those games without an approved transfer card.
Yakupov was taken by the Edmonton Oilers, signed this summer and was assigned to his junior team, the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League, on Sept. 15. Hockey Canada refused to sign off on Yakupov's transfer because his rights belonged to the Sting, where he spent the past two seasons and piled up 170 points in 107 games.
Under IIHF rules, a transfer card (ITC) must be signed by the original country, the new country and the player.
"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," the IIHF said in a statement. "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."
The Russian Hockey Federation has until Oct. 1 to respond to Hockey Canada's appeal.