NHL team backs Russians in Euro row – RT Sport News

The Czech Foreign Ministry has signaled that Russian hockey players will not be wanted when NHL teams travel to Prague

The general manager of the NHL team, the San Jose Sharks, has hinted that the franchise could boycott two games scheduled in Prague next month if Czech officials do not allow the team’s Russian players to enter. in the country.

The Sharks are scheduled to open the new NHL season with games against the Nashville Predators at the O2 Arena in Prague on October 7-8, as part of the league’s 2022 World Series.

Both organizations have Russian players on their rosters, although prior to the series the Czech government contacted the NHL to report its ban on issuing visas to Russian citizens due to the conflict in Ukraine.

San Jose boss Grier said he doesn’t foresee any problems for star winger Alexander Barabanov, but stressed the team’s solidarity if the 28-year-old is barred from playing on the circuit.

“We’re a team, so if they say some guys can’t get through, either we all go or nobody goes.” Grier said, according to Sharks reporter Curtis Pashelka.

“I believe quite strongly that we are a team here, we are a group, and it’s not the fault of the players. They haven’t done anything wrong. So I don’t think they should be punished for that. . he added, noting that the league would face a potential forfeit in case Russian players are banned.

“We are with them and we are all together as one here. If that happens and I hope it doesn’t – and I don’t foresee it will – we’ll do it as a group.

Among the Czech sports figures who have been particularly critical of Russia amid the conflict in Ukraine is two-time Stanley Cup winner Dominik Hasek.

The iconic goaltender even asked the NHL to suspend all of its Russian players, meaning Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin would be sidelined among dozens of others.

EU country confirms punishment of Russia-based hockey stars

The NHL suspended its agreement with the Russia-based Continental Hockey League (KHL) and other trading partners in the country in March, but showed no willingness to impose sanctions on Russian players who feature in the league. North American elite.

However, hockey has become a particular sports battleground for some European countries in their sanctions against Russia.

Nations like the Czech Republic, Latvia, Sweden and Finland have all declared that all players who compete in the KHL will no longer be considered for national team selection.

Former KHL sides Jokerit, based in Helsinki, and Dinamo Riga in the Latvian capital both pulled out of the league towards the end of last season.


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