Czech Republic Says Nyet To Russian NHL Players Scheduled To Take Part In Games In Prague

Czech Republic is supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia.

The National Hockey League has hit a rut in its return to Europe, specifically in Prague. The Czech Republic told the NHL that Russian players on the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks are not welcomed to participate in regular season games in Prague. Two games are scheduled for the teams on October 7th and October 8th. The Czech Republic Foreign Ministry told the NHL that Russian players are not allowed to compete in the matches because of Russia’s 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 Schengen zone should not issue visas to the Russian players to enter our territory,” Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek said in a statement.

The Czech Republic was one of the first European Union countries that stopped giving visas to Russian nationals following the February invasion of Ukraine. Russian athletes have been able to compete in various sports globally including the US Open tennis tournament in New York. The National Hockey League welcomed back most Russian athletes after an off-season that saw some speculation that Russian athletes would not be allowed to return. The Czech Republic ministry said it told NHL officials “about ongoing negotiations about banning entry for those citizens of the Russian Federation who already had received valid visas before.” The NHL did not bar Russians from being part of any of the 32 teams. The NHL did not allow players from the Colorado Avalanche to take the Stanley Cup to Russia or Belarus this summer because of the invasion of Ukraine. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press he has “no concern” about players being barred from playing in Prague.

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NATO Summit Meeting, Prague.