Feb 4, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks with media prior to the 2022 NHL All-Star Game Skills Competition at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the National Hockey League is halting its communication with one of the best leagues in the world.

Frank Seravalli of DailyFaceoff.com reported on Monday that “the NHL provided formal notice to Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League that they have suspended operation of their Memorandum of Understanding, officially severing communication between the two leagues as a result of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine.”

“In a memo distributed to GMs on Monday, obtained by Daily Faceoff, the NHL instructed its teams to “immediately cease all dealings [direct or indirect] with the KHL and KHL Clubs [and all representatives of both], as well as with player agents who are based in and continue to do business in Russia,” Seravalli said.

This will not have any impact on how the NHL (commissioner Gary Bettman is pictured above) and its teams communicate with Russian players already under contract with NHL teams, or any agents based in North America.

This does not necessarily mean that NHL teams will no longer communicate with or try to sign KHL based players. But the severing of the Memorandum of Understanding does mean that extra steps will have to be taken to find out what a given player’s availability is.

As Seravalli reported, one area that remains uncertain is how Russian players will be treated in the 2022 NHL Draft.

“Sources say NHL front offices have expressed concern about drafting Russian-born players, out of fear that the U.S. and Canada may not be willing to grant work visas for Russian-born athletes seeking to play in North America,” Seravalli said.

We’ve seen other leagues be impacted by this invasion, as well as Vladimir Putin’s leadership in general. Given the number of Russian stars it has, the NHL was always going to be a part of that.

Expect this situation to remain fluid. While its effect on the sports world will be of course secondary to the lives being lost, the sports world will no doubt undergo more changes throughout the duration of this invasion.


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