Getty ImagesAs the NHL locked out its players, Nail Yakupov, taken first overall in the 2012 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers, flew back to his home town of Nizhnekamsk and agreed to a contract with the local KHL team, Neftekhimik.
He was scheduled to be in the starting lineup in Neftekhimik's next game in Nizhni Novgorod. But that's likely not going to happen, because the IIHF is refusing to issue Yakupov's transfer card to the KHL club.
It's something that could affect other NHL players trying to spend the lockout in Europe.
An IIHF transfer card is needed for any player participating in any tournament under the IIHF umbrella. It is sort of a permit to play. The KHL and every hockey league in Europe is under the IIHF umbrella. The KHL had its run-ins with the international hockey governing body before, when the IIHF either refused or delayed issuing transfer cards, like in the case with Alex Radulov. On certain occasions, these tensions led to KHL threatening to leave the organization.
"The IIHF is not allowing Yakupov to play. The transfer card has not been sent from Switzerland (the IIHF headquarters)," Neftekhimik director Rafik Yakubov told Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov.
"I can't even imagine what this is related to. Perhaps the international hockey federation doesn't want to feud with the NHL and is waiting when they receive an approval from there. The negotiations are ongoing and we were told that there will be no requests. So, Nail cannot play against Torpedo. He is already in Nizhnekamsk, practicing with the team and is ready to play even tomorrow."Read More »from Nail Yakupov, other NHL players facing IIHF transfer card controversy in Europe