The season of the National Hockey League (NHL), the best ice hockey league in the world, will open in Prague on October 7th and 8th. The Nashville Predators will take on the San Jose Sharks in the 2022 NHL Global Series at the O2 Arena. But in the run-up Dominik Hasek causes heated discussions. The goalkeeper legend spoke out against using Russian players. “I don’t want any Russian NHL players in Prague,” said the 1998 Olympic champion.
In the past few months, Hasek has repeatedly advocated the exclusion of Russian athletes from international competitions in social media and interviews. Now he is also committed to ensuring that no Russian players appear in the game in Prague. He even got in touch with politicians. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it asked for a list of Russian players who could play in Prague on October 7th and 8th. Hasek was also wanted to have contact with the NHL leadership.
Hasek explained in a tweet: “To explain. Participation of Russian players supports the war in Ukraine by millions,” explained the Czech ice hockey icon. In addition, it would boost Russian confidence “and determination aimed at aggression.” This “increases the danger for us and leads to even greater losses.”
The decision whether Russian ice hockey players are actually excluded is not up to him. “However, I have received information that the NHL will be receiving a letter very soon,” said the former goaltender. Hasek emphasized that these are not sanctions: “I don’t want to punish anyone. The only goal is the security of our country, not least that of the Russian soldiers. Because an earlier end to the war could save many lives.”
The San Jose Sharks roster currently includes Nikolay Knazev, Alexander Barabanov and Yevgeny Svyechnikov. Jakov Trenin plays for the Predators. “It’s not about where a hockey player was born. But they are adult citizens of their country. That’s why they bear responsibility for the actions of their country,” says Dominik Hasek.