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Absence of NHL Russian players in Prague next month

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC – The NHL team that will play in the Czech capital next month has been told that Russian players are not welcome.

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs made clear to the NHL its position on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The ministry declined to say whether the NHL had responded.

The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks are scheduled to play regular season games at the O2 Arena in Prague on October 7-8. The travel roster has not been finalized, but Nashville is defending Yakov Trenin and San Jose defending Yevgeny Svetnikov. Defenseman Nikolai Knizov is out due to injury.

“The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a letter to the NHL, pointing out that at this time, the Czech Republic or other states in the (visa-free) Schengen area should not issue visas to Russian players to enter the country. It is our territory,” Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek said in a statement.

The ministry added that it had informed the league “about ongoing negotiations to ban the entry of citizens of the Russian Federation who had already obtained a previously valid visa”.

The ministry said the ban on Russian athletes from sporting events in EU countries was also recommended by the EU’s sports ministers.

The Czech Republic was one of the first EU member states to stop issuing visas to Russian citizens after the February invasion of Ukraine. Exceptions include humanitarian cases and those persecuted by Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia.

The NHL returns to Europe for its first game outside of North America since the start of the pandemic.

The Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets will play two more games in Tampere, Finland on November 4-5, in addition to two games in Prague. The Finnish government’s position on the Russian player was not immediately clear.

Czech NHL great Dominik Hasek has been against Russian players coming to Prague since the match was announced in April. Hasek has lobbied the Senate, the Senate, the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the issue.

“It’s very important for the support of Ukrainian allies and the security of our citizens,” Hasek said in an interview with a Russian broadcaster.

“Yes, I don’t want to advertise Russian aggression here,” Hasek posted on Twitter after the move of the foreign ministry.

Absence of NHL Russian players in Prague next month

Source link Absence of NHL Russian players in Prague next month

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