Hockey

IIHF approves Hudler move to KHL

The International Ice Hockey Federation cleared Jiri Hudler to sign with the KHL's Dinamo Moscow on Wednesday, despite protests from the National Hockey League, the Detroit Red Wings and USA Hockey.

The International Ice Hockey Federation cleared Jiri Hudler to sign with the KHL's Dinamo Moscow on Wednesday, despite protests from the National Hockey League, the Detroit Red Wings and USA Hockey.

The Czech was awarded to a two-year deal worth $10 million US by the Kontinental Hockey League club in July, when he decided to leave the Red Wings as a restricted free agent.

USA Hockey filed an appeal, which argued that Hudler was still under contract with the Wings.

But the IIHF denied the appeal, ruling that since Hudler's agent, and not Hudler himself, had filed for salary arbitration when he and Detroit couldn't come to terms on a deal, the arbitration ruling was invalid.

USA Hockey has seven days to appeal the IIHF's decision.

Hudler, 25, reportedly turned down Detroit's offer of $3 million US a year for up to five years, and was awarded a two-year $5.75-million deal by an NHL arbitrator on Aug. 3. The Wings still have Hudler's rights if he decides to return to the NHL.

The new deal more than quadruples Hudler's 2008-09 salary. He earned $1.15 million with the Wings last season when he notched 57 points (23 goals) in the final year of his contract

Hudler's move is at the centre of an ongoing battle between the NHL and KHL over player poaching. The NHL has transfer agreements in place with other professional leagues, but no such deal exists with the KHL.

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