Russian sporting officials have called for athletes playing abroad in the U.S. National Hockey League to be allowed home to compete in the Ice Hockey World Championship.
The remarks were directed to Russian ice hockey great Alexander Ovyechkin, who currently plays with the Washington Capitals. The Capitals lost the playoff quarterfinal match to Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday, ending their season.
The first Vice-President of Russian hockey federation, Roman Rotenberg also said that his teammates Yevgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov should be allowed to return to Russia, sports news website R-Sport reported.
Ovyechkin is one of the most successful hockey players in the NHL since joining in the 2005-2006 season. In 2008, he received a 13-year contact for Washington Capitals for the sum of 124 million U.S. dollars.
Ovyechkin has made no comment.
The Ice Hockey World Championship is taking place in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Russia is currently second in its group behind the Czech Republic.