NHL: Russian players, families ‘being put in an extremely difficult position’
The NHL said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put Russian players and their families “in an extremely difficult position.”
In a statement on Monday, the league publicly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, urging for a peaceful resolution to the deadly conflict. It also said it was suspending business relationships in Russia.
“Effective immediately, we are suspending our relationships with our business partners in Russia and we are pausing our Russian language social and digital media sites,” the league said in its statement. “In addition, we are discontinuing any consideration of Russia as a location for any future competitions involving the NHL.”
The league also shared its concern for the well-being of Russian players and their families.
“We also remain concerned about the well-being of the players from Russia, who play in the NHL on behalf of their NHL Clubs, and not on behalf of Russia,” the league said. “We understand they and their families are being placed in an extremely difficult position.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on Thursday, and has led to a series of international sanctions against Moscow. U.S. companies in a variety of sectors have moved to end business with Russia.
Hall-of-Fame player Dominik Hasek, a native of the Czech Republic, has urged the league to suspend all Russians in response to comments from Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.
“The NHL must immediately suspend contracts for all Russian players!” Hasek wrote in a Twitter thread on Saturday.
“Every athlete represents not only himself and his club, but also his country and its values and actions. That is a fact. If the NHL does not do so, it has indirect co-responsibility for the dead in Ukraine.”
Hasek ripped Ovechkin for calling for peace, saying he was an “alibist” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“What!? Not only an alibist, a chicken shit, but also a liar! Every adult in Europe knows well, that Putin is a mad killer and that Russia is waging an offensive war against the free country and its people,” Hasek said.