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Nail Yakupov can resume playing in KHL

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Nail Yakupov, drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers, poses for a portrait during Round One of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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Nail Yakupov will be allowed to play in the KHL during the lockout, according to a Sportsnet report.

Yakupov join KHL Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, but the IIHF said he was playing without an approved transfer card.

Yakupov spent the previous two seasons playing with the OHL Sarnia Sting, but he would be competing for a spot on the Edmonton Oilers’ roster at this point if it wasn’t for the lockout.

“It certainly caught those of us in the league office off guard because he suddenly was reported as playing in the KHL,” Canadian Hockey League president David Branch said earlier this week. “We had no knowledge of that.”

Still, Hockey Canada announced Saturday that Yakupov would be released to the KHL.

“Hockey Canada and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation have announced that the OHL has determined that Yakupov had no independent legal advice when, at the age of 17 years old, he signed his contract with Sarnia,” the Hockey Canada statement read. “His release goes into effect immediately.”


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