Cutting Ties with Russian NHL Players



Alex Ovechkin before his game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 1st

Matthew Mills, Staff Writer

Due to the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, many Russian NHL players are losing sponsorships with major companies. CCM Hockey, one of the biggest ice hockey equipment brands in the world, told news outlets that it will no longer be using Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and other Russian players in their global marketing campaigns.

“Although Mr. Ovechkin is not responsible for the Russian government’s actions,” said CCM chief executive Marrouane Nabih, “we took the decision to not use him (or any Russian player) on any global CCM communication at this point,” says CCM Hockey chief executive Marrouane Nabih. Ovechkin has faced nonstop criticism for being a Moscow native and his support and friendship with Russian President Vladamir Putin. While in a campaign for peace Ovechkin says “sad situation right now for both sides.” NHL players are advised by their agents to, “tread lightly” about the situation.

Russian players are being provided with extra security in North America with reports of “real threats” being made online to the players.  NHL responds with, “remains concerned about the well-being” of its Russian players, noting they play in the league “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.”. One of these online threats came from Hall Of Fame Goaltender Dominik Hasek, who took to Twitter calling Ovechkin an “alibist… chicken sh*t… liar.” Hasek also told the league to call for, “Immediate suspension” of all Russian players warning the league “If the NHL does not do so, it has indirect co-responsibility for the dead in Ukraine.”

The NHL suspended all ties with Russian business partners on Tuesday, March 1st condemning the invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, the International Ice Hockey Federation the global governing body for international competition has banned Russia and Belarus from participation in “every age category and in all IIHF competitions until further notice.”