The World Cup of Hockey is off to a historic start for North America, with Canada and the US racking up wins over their international opponents. But Russian hockey players are leaving the tournament in droves – many citing homophobic slurs from Canadian fans as one of the reasons they’re returning home early. The repercussions could be felt not just on ice but across all sports, raising questions about where homophobia may lead next given how fast it’s spread through this year’s games in Pyeongchang
The “nhl russian players ban” is the impact of hockey’s Russian backlash, and what’s next for the sport.
In his Instagram bio, Andrei Svechnikov lists two destinations. One of them is Raleigh, North Carolina, where the Carolina Hurricanes star has spent the last four seasons. After stops in Moscow and Siberia, his family settled in Kazan, Russia.
Svechnikov is Russian, a name that has taken on a new meaning in the last two weeks, after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send his troops into Ukraine. The NHL, which isn’t renowned for taking strong political positions, issued a statement condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and urging a peaceful conclusion as soon as possible.
It also voiced worry for players like Svechnikov, who “perform in the NHL on behalf of their NHL teams, not Russia,” admitting that the players and their families are “in an extraordinarily difficult situation.”
Since the start of the conflict, this has meant online abuse and public ridicule for certain Russian gamers. To safeguard these athletes, the NHL has provided security resources to its franchises, and the teams have tightened up their own protection.
As Svechnikov’s teammate Jordan Martinook said on Tuesday, their teammates are also on the lookout for them.
“Svech has no influence over anything. It’s no longer under his control. You obviously want to help him. You’ve seen it with other league players. Some people are being chastised “Martinook remarked. “If somebody tries to make him feel awful about his circumstances, he’ll have 23 brothers to defend him.”
Dan Milstein argues that the current handling of Russian players is discriminatory. In some respects, he’s correct.
Milstein is a Ukrainian national. I am a proud Ukrainian. He is a political refugee who fled the Soviet Union on its last day of existence and has resided in Kyiv ever since. From afar, he has seen Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He said that his heart had been shattered several times. He can hear bombs bursting in the background as he chats to his pals in Ukraine.
“I’m not feeling well. Right now, the building where I spent the first 16 years of my life is being attacked “he said “However, I am a Ukrainian who is protecting the rights of innocent people. If I don’t stand up for Russians, who will?”
Milstein is well-known in hockey circles for his firm, Gold Star Sports Management, which represents a large number of Russian players. Some of the most popular players on their NHL teams are among his clients: the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy; the New York Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin; and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Ilya Mikheyev. Milstein also represents Nikita Zadorov of the Calgary Flames, who uploaded a graphic on Instagram with the words “no war” inscribed on it. According to Milstein, it provoked a barrage of negative remarks addressed at the defensemen.
“Most Russians I know, particularly hockey players, want the world to be a better place. Nobody wants to be involved in a conflict “explained the agent. “They are now being discriminated against because they are Russian. Their whole existence is in jeopardy.”
The hockey community’s reaction
The speed with which the hockey world has reacted to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been astounding.
The International Ice Hockey Federation has canceled all competitions in that country and has barred Russia and Belarus from competing in any IIHF events. The now-cancelled world junior tournament was set to take place in Russian towns Novosibirsk and Omsk, both in Siberia, between December 2022 and January 2023. The city of Novosibirsk was building a new arena expressly for the event.
“The IIHF is not a political organization and cannot influence decisions on the war in Ukraine,” IIHF president Luc Tardif stated. “We do, however, owe a duty of care to all of our members and players, and we must do all we can to ensure that our tournaments are run in a safe atmosphere for all teams participating in the IIHF World Championship program.”
Rene Fasel, Tardif’s predecessor as IIHF president, was recognized for his cordial ties with Russian hockey. The IIHF’s actions, according to Fasel, were “a tragic moment” for the organization.
“The Soviet Union collaborated with the United States and Canada even throughout the Cold War. Sport, even in such a stressful circumstance as today, must send a message of peace and unity “he said
This is the type of idealistic naiveté you’d expect from the International Olympic Committee, which prides itself on the apolitical nature of its games — except, evidently, when it comes to Russian aggression in Ukraine. While Fasel is requesting campfire singalongs with Russia, the IOC executive board has advised each member nation’s governing sports body to “not invite or allow Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials to participate in international tournaments.”
Meanwhile, the NHL has ceased “any consideration of Russia as a destination for any future tournaments,” as well as its financial agreements with a Russian sports betting firm and Yandex, one of Europe’s major internet businesses, which broadcasts the league’s games in Russia.
There are also media and sponsorship ramifications. Because the IIHF has banned Russian and Belarusian teams, EA Sports has said that those teams would be removed from “NHL 22” because “we stand with the people of Ukraine.”
For the time being, CCM Hockey has pledged not to employ any Russian players in its worldwide marketing. Alex Ovechkin is a Russian hockey player.’s advertisement for MassMutual, which featured him and Nicklas Backstrom eating cereal and discussing their on-ice connection, has been withdrawn from American television.
Alex Ovechkin is a Russian hockey player.
Ovechkin’s image has been harmed more than any other player as a result of the Russian invasion. Overnight, the topic appeared to shift from Wayne Gretzky’s pursuit of the record and likely MVP award to his backing for Vladimir Putin.
Over the years, Ovechkin, 36, has been a staunch defender of Putin. He started a social media platform named Putin Team in 2017 to lobby for Putin, claiming, “I never made a secret of my position toward our president, always openly supporting him.” He has aggressively enlisted the help of other players.
In the past, he has also backed Russian military intervention. When Russia attacked and seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, Ovechkin shared a picture on Instagram of himself carrying a banner that said “”Our Grandparents have witnessed all the horrors of fascism!” he writes in “Save Children From Fascism.” It will not be tolerated in our day!”
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Another agent I talked with worried whether the US government would cancel current Russian work permits in the nation, which would undoubtedly affect hockey players.
I asked Milstein whether he was worried about his guys’ NHL prospects for next season. Whether he was concerned that they wouldn’t be able to play in the NHL at all.
“Naturally, I’m worried. But most importantly, I’m worried about their safety and well-being. Because they’re being endangered right now, “he said “My Russian-born clientele are lovely and polite folks. My clients and I pay millions of dollars in taxes in the United States and Canada. We make significant contributions to the society of North America.”
There will be anger. There will be backlash. There will be ill feelings expressed toward Russian athletes and a sense that they should shoulder a larger burden in asking for peace. Some of it is fair, such as in Alex Ovechkin is a Russian hockey player.’s case. Much of it is not, as Russian players who share nothing with this war outside of a birthplace are harassed or professionally impacted due to that association.
Milstein hopes that this energy be used in a different, more productive direction: toward the Russians who are being attacked.
“Rather of hating on each other and venting on social media, contribute anything you can — food, clothes, money — to help Ukraine’s innocent people,” he urged.
“The impact of hockey’s Russian backlash, and what’s next” is a blog post about the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict. It covers the impacts for both countries, as well as what is to come. Reference: ukraine news.
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