Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine may impact the NHL’s Global Series games between the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Prague, Czech Republic next month. The Czech government has told the NHL that Russian players cannot make the trip for the games, per a report from ESPN.
Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek released a statement confirming that the county has informed the NHL it would not issue visas to Russian players to travel for the games.
“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,” Smolek said in his statement.
The Sharks and Predators are scheduled to kick off the regular season with games at O2 Arena in Prague on Oct. 7 and Oct. 8. With training camps just getting underway around the NHL, the final rosters for each team are far from set, but Nashville forward Yakov Trenin and San Jose forwards Alexander Barabonov and Evgeny Svechnikov are most likely to be affected by the Czech government’s policy.
Hall of Fame goaltender and Czech native Dominik Hasek has been outspoken about his desire for the NHL to ban Russian players from participating in the Global Series.
“The NHL San Jose Sharks – Nashville Predators match should take place in Prague in October,” Hasek wrote on Twitter in April. “If the NHL (given the situation) wants to allow any Russian player to play in this match, I will consider it an inexcusable act.”
Hasek also said he would work hard “to ensure that this match does not take place in our country.” That included, according to Hasek, meeting with government officials.
The Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets are also set to play Global Series games of their own in Finland later this year, but so far the country has not issued an official policy on Russian athletes participating in those games.