Former Russian 5 member Slava Fetisov rips the IIHF

The man known as “Papa Bear” is speaking out.



Former Detroit Red Wings veteran defenseman Slava Fetisov formed 1/5 of the famed "Russian 5", and also won two straight Stanley Cup championships with the team in 1997 and 1998. 

Following his retirement from the NHL in 1998, he earned another Stanley Cup ring as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils during the 1999-2000 season. It only added to his extensive championship history that already included  two Olympic gold medals and seven world championships.

His other career pursuits include serving as president of the KHL's HC CSKA Moscow, while also being named the Minister of Sport in Russia under Vladimir Putin. But as the fallout continues on Russian athletics following the country's invasion of Ukraine last year, Fetisov is blasting the IIHF, who instituted a ban on Russian involvement in international tournaments following the invasion.

“For me, there is no World Hockey Championship,” Fetisov told “I believe that it is a crime to show it in our country, and also to discuss its results. The topic is closed for me. It’s a crime to discuss the World Cup. When you don’t respect yourself, no one will respect you.”

Fetisov's sentiments are the exact opposite of former Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek, who has gone so far as to petition the NHL to ban all Russian players from the League, and has been especially critical of Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who has been known throughout his career as a Putin ally.

Fetisov also had this to say after Russian athletes were banned from participating in the Olympics in the wake of the invasion: 

"I'm terribly sorry for our athletes, because although I myself participated in competitions against the background of the Cold War, this did not prevent me from taking part in the Olympics, playing in the NHL."

"Our athletes are now trapped in a situation where a few weeks before the selection for the Olympics, they still cannot understand whether they will be allowed to qualify or not."