Alexander Mogilny of the Soviet national hockey team defected Thursday in Stockholm, where the Soviets had won the World Championships, apparently to play in the National Hockey League.
Mogilny, 20, a forward, is the first Soviet player to defect. Sergei Priakin, a former national team member, signed with the Calgary Flames in March after the NHL and the Soviet Hockey Federation had reached agreement allowing him to go to Canada.
Spokesmen for the NHL and Buffalo Sabres, who hold Mogilny’s rights, said they knew nothing of the defection.
It’s unclear what effect the defection might have on relations between the NHL and the Soviets. Four Soviet teams are scheduled to tour the NHL next season, and the Flames and Washington Capitals are scheduled to visit the Soviet Union in September.
Tass, the Soviet news agency, quoted Coach Viktor Tikhonov of the national team as saying the defection was “disgusting” and that Mogilny was lured by promises of a lucrative contract with the NHL.