Hockey legend says NHL should ‘pay’ for letting Russians play
Dominik Hasek also hit out at tennis organizations the ATP and WTA
Dominik Hasek, the Czech goalkeeper considered to be among the finest players in his position in the history of the NHL, says that sports federations should be made to “pay” for supposedly supporting Russian athletes amid the conflict with Ukraine.
Hasek, 57, an Olympic gold medalist who played for various teams in North America and concluded his playing career with a stint in Russia with Spartak Moscow, has been a vocal critic of the decision by various sports not to impose sanctions on Russian athletes in recent months.
A host of sports have placed blanket bans upon Russian and Belarusian athletes since late February, following a recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
However, others such as tennis have allowed them to play at international events under neutral status, while dozens of Russians remain on the rosters at NHL teams.
Hasek claims that sports which allow Russian participation should be marginalized due to their stance.
“There are millions of people around the world who are upset that the NHL, WTA and ATP continue to allow Russian athletes to compete and thus support the war in Ukraine,” Hasek wrote on Twitter.
“They will all have to pay for the support of Russia.”
This is an open letter I sent yesterday to the @NHL, @WTA and @atptour . Please everyone read it and share as much as possible. It is primarily about saving lives in Ukraine and what sport in a democratic world must do for that. https://t.co/68OKpDSh4M
— Dominik Hasek (@hasek_dominik) December 21, 2022
Hasek’s outburst comes days after he issued an open letter to the NHL, ATP and WTA in which he called on the sports bodies to take action against Russian athletes while the Ukraine conflict remains ongoing.
In the 1,300-word letter, Hasek argued that Russian sportspeople competing on the world stage permits the Russian government to “advertise its aggressive policy” and added that his motivation was to attempt to harness sport as a means to “save lives in Ukraine.”
Hasek added that he has not been satisfied by any statements made by the NHL, WTA or ATP as being an unequivocal condemnation of the military action.
However, in a statement issued in late February the NHL called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict – words which were backed by similar statements by the WTA and ATP in March.
Russian officials have criticized the bans imposed on their nation’s athletes, describing them as discriminatory and contrary to the principle of sport being outside politics.
It has also been noted that athletes from numerous other nations – including the US and its NATO allies – were unaffected whenever their governments launched foreign military campaigns down the years.