The Czech government has informed the NHL that it will not allow Russian born players to participate in the upcoming NHL Global Series games hosted in Prague next month.
The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks are scheduled to play back to back games in Prague but players like Alexander Barabanov, Evgeny Schevnikov and Yakov Trenin will not be allowed to participate.
Interestingly enough, former NHL superstar and Hall of Famer Dominik Hasek is one of the individuals who has pressed the Czech government to take this stance.
Hasek, of course, fled the former Russian controlled Czechoslovakia in the late 1980s to come to North America and the NHL. He understandably has strong feelings about the Russian Federation.
Sharks GM Mike Grier has taken a firm stance though, indicating that if all of his players aren't welcome at the event then none of them will attend.
How's that for leadership!?
For what it's worth a representative from the Predators tells reporters that the NHL is working with the Czech government to resolve this.
Frankly, I'm not sure what the right thing to do here is. I tend to agree with Grier though that these Russian players haven't done anything wrong and they're being made to feel guilty for something that they have no control over. They didn't command troops to invade Russia. They didn't have a choice in where they were born. If anything the NHL should be doing everything possible to support its Russian players and helping them get them and their families to a safe haven. Shunning rarely helps matters, so kudos to the Sharks and the Predators for standing up for what they believe in.