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Fetisov wants to restrict young Russians from playing in the NHL

Vladimir Putin, Vyacheslav Fetisov

Vladimir Putin, Vyacheslav Fetisov


From the Associated Press:

Former Detroit Red Wings star Slava Fetisov has called for Russia to reintroduce Soviet-style restrictions to prevent promising young hockey players from moving to the NHL.

Fetisov, who is now a senator in Russia, tells Russia’s R-Sport news agency that federal law should be used to stop Russian players from moving to North America before they turn 28.

The aim is to keep “our most talented guys, the ones who the people come to see.”

Fetisov (pictured with Russian president Vladimir Putin) came to the NHL in 1989, at 31 years old, to play for the New Jersey Devils. He was one of the first players from the Soviet Union to come to the NHL. It took six years from when the Devils drafted him in 1983 for him to get signed. There were frustrations along the way.

From a 1988 New York Times article, when Fetisov was 29 and representing the Soviet Union at the Winter Olympics in Calgary:

Fetisov, an army major, knows better than to state a preference for the National Hockey League until new marching orders have been given him by the Soviet Sports Ministry.

''Nobody has talked to me about it,’' he said in an interview after a team practice yesterday. ''So I’ve made no decision, yet. And maybe it is not my decision anyway.’'

Fetisov said he was curious about the N.H.L. ''just to play under new conditions.’'

''But for now I carry on with my team,’' he said. The player didn’t hesitate when asked if he thought he would make the jump to the N.H.L. should his superiors choose to make him their embassador. ''Would I go?’' he asked. ''Why Not?’'

Hence, tweets today like this: