CONFIRMED: Czech government will allow Russian sharks and predators to play in Prague

It’s official: the Czech Republic will allow the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators to bring their Russian players into the country.

The Sharks and Predators are scheduled to open the NHL regular season in Prague on October 7-8, as part of the NHL World Series.

Tomas Pojar, Foreign and Security Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, confirmed to Czech media Seznam Zpravy“It’s a private event, they have visas, so from the state’s point of view there’s no reason not to let them in. National security is certainly not threatened by their presence. And I don’t even mention that in addition to Schengen visas, they have long-term US work visas and live in the United States.

This follows what NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly revealed to San Jose Hockey Now last Friday: “Everyone who needs visas already has them.” That included, for the San Jose Sharks, Russian winger Alexander Barabanov.

Hertl and Simek want their Russian teammates to play in Prague

A Schengen visa is a short-term visa, covering 26 countries mainly in the European Union, which allows its holders to travel freely through these countries. It’s basically a visa for 26 countries, and the Czech Republic is one of them.

It’s a good way to solve a potentially messy problem.

Two weeks ago, the Czech Republic’s Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the NHL, informing the league that its Russian players were not welcome in Prague for the upcoming World Series.

It was a show of solidarity with Ukraine. To the condemnation of most members of the international community, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and is still waging war there.

On the first day of training camp, San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier responded to reports that the Czech Republic were banning their Russian players by saying: “Either we all go or nobody goes. .”

Grier: ‘Either we all go or nobody goes’

And while Barabanov and company have valid visas, until now it always seemed possible the Czech Republic could force a stalemate where the NHL and San Jose Sharks might have to choose between games in Prague and their own. Russian players.

But the NHL has also confirmed, through Global Series promoter Live Nation, that the event will go ahead as planned: “While global events have created understandable uncertainty around many sporting events, Live Nation has been assured and would like to assure all Czech fans that the 2022 NHL World Series games between the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks will take place as scheduled on October 7th and 8th at the O2 Arena in Prague.

Special thanks to Petr Pravda from Seznam Zpravy for his help with this story.

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Berta D. Wells