The head of the Soviet ice hockey delegation to the Goodwill Games lashed out at the Detroit Red Wings professional ice hockey team, saying they had robbed his team of a young star.
The Red Wings of the National Hockey League announced Tuesday that Sergei Fyodorov, 20, had arrived in Detroit with the help of the team and applied to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service for a work permit so he could play with them.
"We insist on the return of Fyodorov to the team. He should participate in the Goodwill Games as part of the Soviet team," Yuri Korolov, the first vice president of the Soviet ice hockey federation, told a press conference.
"What upsets me is the thievery."
Fyodorov left the hotel where the Soviet team was staying during exhibition games in Portland, Ore., late Sunday night before the squad departed for Kennewick, where the Goodwill Games ice hockey competition will be held.
"From the hotel was taken a Soviet hockey player. We were surprised. We now have a guarantee from the U.S.A. for the safeguard of all of the players of the Goodwill Games.
"Nevertheless, a player has disappeared."
Red Wings spokesman Howard Berlin said in Detroit that the NHL team had been talking to Fyodorov about coming to play ever since the Soviet center was drafted by the franchise in 1989.
Fyodorov's move to Detroit was a "mutual" effort, Berlin said.
Korolov said the federation might try to bring family pressure on Fyodorov.
"The methods of the Detroit club have had a negative impact on our relationship. We're ready to bring his family, his father here," Korolov said.
"He is one of the players that has the potential of being a great player."