Russian NHL star Kaprizov denied entry to U.S. amid tensions

Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov is reportedly mired in a frightening situation regarding his mandatory military service requirements in Russia. (Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

Minnesota Wild star winger Kirill Kaprizov was reportedly turned away twice from returning to the United States amid a delicate political situation currently unfolding in Russia.

According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, citing league sources, Kaprizov remains in Russia after he was denied entry to America on two different occasions. Russo explained that the young forward attempted to return to the United States via a Dubai layover, but was not cleared to enter. He then tried gaining entry by way of the Caribbean Islands, but was denied entry once again.

“He couldn’t clear into the US, though, perhaps because he doesn’t currently have a work visa despite signing a five-year contract last September,” Russo wrote.

Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin had denied earlier this week that the star winger tried to return to the US, adding that the team has been attempting to find out more about the situation ever since Russian newspaper Sport-Express reported on Wednesday that Kaprizov immediately returned to America after Philadelphia Flyers goaltending prospect Ivan Fedotov was taken to a remote military base in northern Russia because his name was linked to fraudulent military identification. The Philadelphia goalie prospect was reportedly picked up by Russian authorities last week ahead of a planned move to the United States.

Kaprizov has been accused of buying a fraudulent military ID in 2017, though his father Oleg has denied the reports, according to Russo, saying his son’s student status should allow him to defer his military obligations. However, that permit allegedly expired on June 30, Russo added.

“It’s scary. It’s scary for all of us,” head coach Dean Evason told The Athletic. “It’s a scary situation in our world. To see somebody as close as we know Kirill, yeah, it’s a scary situation. And we hope that it all gets sorted out correctly.”

Kaprizov, the best player on the 2018 gold medal-winning Russian Olympic team, has become the face of the franchise in Minnesota. He is set to enter the second season of a five-year, $45-million deal.

When GM Bill Guerin was asked about his level of confidence in seeing Kaprizov back in America later this season and in uniform for the Wild’s training camp in September, the general manager “casually shrugged an affirmative” on Friday, per Russo, before declining to discuss Kaprizov or the situation for the rest of the presser.

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