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NHL Told Russian Players Aren't Welcome in Czech Republic for Predators vs. Sharks

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 22, 2022

Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

The Czech Republic has informed the NHL that Russian players will not be granted entry into the country for scheduled games between the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks at Prague's O2 Arena.

Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek released a statement Thursday saying the country made the decision based on Russia's continued invasion of Ukraine.

"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.

The Predators and Sharks are slated for games Oct. 7 and 8 in Prague. It's unclear if the NHL will move forward with the games, and Smolek would not disclose any reaction from the league.

Nashville forward Yakov Trenin and San Jose forward Evgeny Svechnikov would be barred from the games if they are held as scheduled.

Finland, which is also slated to host NHL games this season, is also in the process of banning all Russian citizens from entering the country. It is yet to be made clear whether that will apply to NHL players.

The Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets are set for two games in Tampere, Finland, on Nov. 4-5.

Foreign governments and sports associations have been increasingly hostile toward Russian immigrants as the country continues to wage war in Ukraine. Russian players were barred from playing in Wimbledon this summer, and several international sports organizations have banned Russians from competition.

There have been more than 14,000 confirmed civilian casualties since February, but the number is believed to be higher.

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