Czech government issues stern statement to NHL
Ricky Gray | September 22, 2022
The statement reveals that Russian players are unwanted in Prague.
In a statement from the Czech government, NHL teams playing in the capital next month have been told their Russian players are not welcome.
The Czech Foreign Ministry told the NHL of its stance because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It has yet to be announced whether the NHL has responded to the statement.
Both the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks are to play regular-season games Oct. 7 and 8 at Prague's O2 Arena and the Predators have Russian forward Yakov Trenin.
The San Jose Sharks have forward Evgeny Svechnikov, another Russian player, in their lineup.
Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek said: “We can confirm that the Czech Foreign Ministry has sent a letter to the NHL to point out that, at this moment, the Czech Republic or any other state in the (visa-free) Schengen zone should not issue visas to the Russian players to enter our territory.”
The ministry added that the NHL was informed: “about ongoing negotiations about banning entry for those citizens of the Russian Federation who already had received valid visas before.”
Czech NHL player Dominik Hasek has led the opposition to Russian players coming to Prague since these games were announced in April.
In an interview, Hasek said: “It's very important for the support of our Ukrainian ally and safety of our citizens.”
After the announcement from the Czech government, Hasek tweeted: “Yes, we don't want any promotion of the Russian aggression here.
“We're guarding our lives and the lives of our allies in the first place.”