MOSCOW -- Russia will not sign a transfer agreement with the National Hockey League just weeks after ratifying the deal, the country's ice hockey chief said on Wednesday.
Vladislav Tretyak, president of the Russian Ice Hockey
Federation (RIHF), said the proposed agreement was not in the
best interest of Russian clubs.
"We have been in constant negotiation with the NHL, trying
to reach a fair deal, but unfortunately we were unable to fully
take into account the interests of Russian clubs," said Tretyak.
Russia remained the only major hockey power not to sign the
deal, which was approved by the International Ice Hockey
Federation (IIHF) last year.
The Russians were expected to put pen to paper after RIHF's
executive board voted unanimously to approve the deal in June.
Tretyak has pushed hard for his country to join a Collective
Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the NHL since being elected RIHF
president in April.
But many top Russian clubs want to negotiate their own deals
directly with their North American counterparts.
IIHF president Rene Fasel has warned Russia that if they
continued the stand-off they would risk participation of their
NHL players in world championship or Olympic competition.
"There is a danger that if we do not find an agreement with
[NHL commissioner] Gary Bettman, Russian players will not be
allowed to play in Russia next year," Fasel told reporters at
May's world championship in Riga.
Under the new CBA, the NHL and NHL Players' Association can
prevent a player from taking part in a world championship
without a transfer agreement in place.