Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine continues to have repercussions for Russian and Belarusian-born players across the NHL.
Wednesday, during the NHL’s pre-Stanley Cup Final press conference, deputy commissioner Bill Daly revealed that the NHL’s championship trophy will not travel to Russia or Belarus this summer.
“We made both clubs aware,” Daly said. “The Cup isn’t going to Russia or Belarus. We may owe a Cup trip in the future. That can happen just like we’ve done with the pandemic, but it’s not happening this summer.”
The NHL quickly cut ties with Russian-related businesses and posted a strong statement after Putin went into Ukraine in February.
“The National Hockey League condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and urges a peaceful resolution as quickly as possible,” the NHL wrote in a release on February 28. “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. In addition, we are discontinuing any consideration of Russia as a location for any future competitions involving the NHL.
“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. We understand they and their families are being placed in an extremely difficult position.”
The Avalanche have one Russian player, Valeri Nichushkin (Chelyabinsk), while the Lightning have three, Nikita Kucherov (Maykop), Mikhail Sergachev (Nizhnekamsk), and Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tyumen).
The Stanley Cup traveled to Russia last in September 2021 when Kucherov, Sergachev, and Vasilevskiy celebrated their back-to-back championship there.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB