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NHL Lockout Sends Wild Goalie Niklas Backstrom To Belarus

Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom will be playing hockey in Belarus until the NHL lockout is resolved.

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Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom is reportedly one of the first NHL players to sign with a foreign club, after the league's most recent lockout began last Saturday. Backstrom will go to Belarus and join coach Ari Hilly with Dynamo Minsk.

Backstrom, a Finland native, will need to get insurance -- the Wild cannot provide insurance for a player going to another league -- and get a visa before he can join Dynamo, which plays in the Kontinental Hockey League, Europe's top league. The KHL has 26 teams, 20 of which play in Russia.

Backstrom's deal will allow him to return to the Wild should a cessation of hostilities between owners and players occur. A large portion of the Minnesota roster has been working out together, with other players from around the NHL.

For news on the Minnesota Wild, check out Hockey Wilderness. For news from around the NHL and more on the lockout, check out SB Nation's NHL hub.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.