IIHF responds to video of former Coyotes prospect being racially abused.

IIHF finally responds.


Racism has no place in the game of hockey and while I know that this is a message that is wholeheartedly supported by every fan I have ever encountered, it is a message that is unfortunately not yet universal.

Over the weekend a rather disturbing video began to make the rounds on social media, a video that was from a game in the Ukrainian Hockey League. In the video UHL player Andrei Deniskin is seen acting out a racist taunt, one that was directed at former Arizona Coyotes prospect Jalen Smereck. Smereck is a black man and there was no mistaking what Deniskin was attempting to minick in the video, the peeling of a banana and the consumption of said banana. The racial connotations were unmistakable and unfortunately there was also no mistaking the intent behind Deniskin's actions.

Thankfully on Monday morning the IIHF finally responded after considerable public pressure was mounted by fans and journalists who were disgusted at the treatment the American born defenseman received overseas.

"The IIHF condemns in the strongest possible terms the actions of Andri Denyskin," said newly appointed IIHF President Luc Tardif in the statement. "There is no place for such a blatantly racist and unsportsmanlike gesture in our sport and in society. his a direct assault on the ideals and values of our game, and we will ensure that all necessary ethics violation investigations occur to ensure that this behaviour is sanctioned appropriately."

I suspect that this may very well spell the end of Deniskin's hockey career, especially when you consider what a big story this has become over the last few days. The reality is that Deniskin is by no means an irreplaceable figure in the world of hockey, and I suspect that he will learn that lesson the hard way in the coming days as the IIHF applies pressure for a full investigation into this matter.

For his part Deniskin has expressed that his actions were caused by frustration in the heat of the moment. In a sport as physical and grueling as hockey I have no trouble believing that Deniskin was genuinely angry when he acted the way he did, but there are some lines that simply should not be crossed.