The National Hockey League on Monday said it had suspended its business dealings in Russia and would no longer consider the country when looking at locations for any future NHL competitions amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The NHL is also pausing its Russian-language social and digital media sites, it said in a statement.
The North American league counts many high-profile Russian players among its ranks including Tampa Bay Lightning stars Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy and veteran Washington Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin.
“We also remain concerned about the well-being of the players from Russia, who play in the NHL on behalf of their NHL Club, and not on behalf of Russia,” the league said.
“We understand they and their families are being placed in an extremely difficult position.”
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbor’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; editing by Jonathan Oatis)