The IIHF has approved the disputed transfer of Russian forward Kirill Kabanov, 17, to the Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL). The IIHF could not find any assertion that Kabanov was under a valid and binding contract with the KHL club Salavat Yulayev Ufa.
The IIHF decision ends a seven-week period of uncertainty and legal wrangling which began in August when Kirill Kabanov – one of Russian hockey’s most promising players – left Salavat Yulayev Ufa of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League to join the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in Canada.
On Friday, the IIHF General Secretary signed the decision stating that the player’s international transfer is approved. The decision concludes that it cannot be asserted that the player was under a valid and binding contract with the KHL club at the time of his request to obtain an International Transfer Card (ITC).
Kabanov rose to fame last year when he debuted in the KHL playing ten games for Spartak Moscow as a 16-year-old.
Kabanov had 11 points (four goals + seven assists) in seven games at the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championship in the United States. (8th overall, 3rd on the Russian team)
The problems began after Kabanov transferred from Spartak to Salavat Yulayev on July 16, 2009.
The player went to Ufa and started to train with the new team, but he never signed a contract with Salavat, invoking the fact that a so called “NHL out-clause” (which would allow the player to unconditionally terminate his obligations to his Russian club in the event he signed a contract with an NHL club) was not included in the new contract with Salavat.
An NHL out-clause was included in the player’s contracts with Spartak Moscow, which was signed in 2007 and 2008. Kabanov transferred to Salavat under the condition that the out-clause would remain.
The KHL claims that an out-clause like Kabanov’s violates the league’s regulations.
Kabanov is eligible to play for Russia in the 2010 IIHF World U20 Championship in Saskatoon and Regina, Canada (26 December, 2009 – 5 January, 2010) and in the 2010 IIHF World U18 Championship in Belarus.
The Russian is considered as one of the top prospects at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. At 17, Kabanov is too young to play in the NHL.
This decision may be appealed to the IIHF Executive Committee within 7 days after receipt of the letter. This decision shall remain in effect and shall not be stayed pending the outcome of an appeal (section II art. 5.8 ITC Regulations).