Wayne Gretzky said what so many others are thinking on Saturday night.
“Sports get zeroed in on. If we are going to send hockey players home we should send everybody home. It’s not just hockey players there is a lot of other people here who are making a living,” Gretzky said on NHL on TNT.
“I think international hockey should say, ‘We’re not gonna let them play in the world junior hockey tournament. I think we got to, as Canadians, take that stance since the games are going to be played in Edmonton.”
Dominik Hasek, has called on the NHL to terminate all Russian player contracts!
“The NHL must immediately suspend contracts for all Russian players!” Hasek writes. “Every athlete represents not only himself and his club, but also his country and its values and actions. That is a fact. If the NHL does not do so, it has indirect co-responsibility for the dead in Ukraine.”
“I also want to write, that I am very sorry for those Russian athletes, who condemn V. Putin and his Russian aggression in Ukraine,” he continued. “However, at the moment I also consider their exclusion a necessity.”
When sport is used to be a “unifying” event for many countries in many ways, it can and is often used to identify and publicly make political statements.
Canada has blocked Russian planes from entering its air space. So technically the Russians should be land locked in their own country. Other than the junior players who are in other countries now, Russia shouldn’t even be able to physically send a team.
But then we have the IIHF. The international governing body that is a disaster in every way. The same international body that absolutely pooped the bed with the attempt at having World Juniors last year, and who has completely screwed up tournaments for the last few years.
The IIHF will have a “meeting” today, Monday. To decide the fate of Russia. The IIHF which really is a paper pushing, money making machine will have a meeting. Days after the fact, this IIHF will have a meeting that they could have had on Friday. And this is the IIHF’s modus operandi. Never get ahead of what is happening and always be the last to react.
The IIHF is a political body whether they want to be or not, and they have the ability to make an impact on international opinion. But they rarely ever do. Even when Russia is banned from the Olympics ways are found to allow Russian athletes to participate, and they shouldn’t be.
Lets face it, Russia is a country full of cheaters. It is in their DNA throughout the Olympics and virtually every other international sporting event. No other country has a history like Russia when it comes to doping. Russia is also the country of aggressors in Ukraine.
Historically the IIHF and IOC have been nothing but declawed cats when dealing with Russia. With new leadership in place for the last five months they are proving once again that they are a useless body and should be done away with.
When teams from Helsinki Finland and Riga Latvia pull out of the KHL immediately that is the example that should be followed. These teams did the right thing. All North American players in the KHL should be leaving the league that is also nothing more than a Putin and oligarch farce.
Russia should be banned from all international events in every sport. If the Russian people don’t pay for the actions of their “chosen leader” then the leadership will never change.
The IIHF must take the step to not only ban Russia this year, but to ban them for multiple years. For as long as it takes to rebuild Ukraine, Russia should remain locked inside its own borders. Just like the good old Cold War days. Then maybe the Russian people will take action and change things themselves.
Some people were not happy with my opinion last week concerning Russian players. Oh well. Looks like my opinions have some good company.