The line has been crossed in Latvia. The pressure on hockey players reaches an outrageous level of meanness

Lev Lukin

The line has been crossed in Latvia.

The Baltic authorities are threatening players and coaches who want to work in the KHL with prison. These are the values ​​of a democratic society.

After the February political events, Russia faced a large-scale isolation in the sports field. Our team was shamelessly thrown out from everywhere, and it seems that foreigners in the KHL clubs could be forgotten for a long time.

In fact, everything turned out not so sad. Yes, the KHL has lost a lot of great players with Swedish, Finnish and Czech citizenship, but, for example, the Slovaks, as well as the North Americans, not only remained in the league, but also grew in numbers. Yes, and we said goodbye to other Europeans not without a trace: in the new KHL season, both the Swedes and the Finn will play (“tractor driver” Pulkkinen is one against all!), And in recent days, the Czechs have signed contracts with Russian clubs, causing nervous attacks by Dominik Hasek.



We won't be left without jokers.  Full alignment of foreigners in KHL clubs
We won’t be left without jokers. Full alignment of foreigners in KHL clubs

The hardest thing was with the Latvian hockey players. In the Baltic state, they took their souls off with pleasure when there was no longer a need to put a good face on Russia, and plunged into anti-Russian sanctions with their heads. They affected athletes directly, since in Latvia, at the legislative level, athletes and coaches were forbidden to take part in competitions in Russia.

Nowhere else has this been thought of, and this is quite understandable. Political confrontation is one thing, the freedom of choice of its citizens is quite another. A person is free to earn money where he wants, the state (especially democratic) has no right to interfere with him. This is best understood in the USA and Canada, worse – in Europe (there, their athletes performing in Russia are minorly or majorly mistreated, but they do not fail under the articles), but Latvia has its own way.

I believe that without Latvian hockey players and coaches in Russia they could live. Little loss. So, after the brilliant decision of the authorities, no one in the KHL expected the Balts. But then it suddenly became clear that it was the Latvian hockey players and coaches themselves who could not live without Russia. More precisely, without Russian money, which they will not be paid anywhere else in the world.



“We don't need him.  Let him get blood money.  For the sake of Russia, the goalkeeper became the enemy of Latvia
“We don’t need him. Let him get blood money. For the sake of Russia, the goalkeeper became the enemy of Latvia

And so, to the horror of the Latvian government, lawbreakers began to seep into the KHL. Forward Nikolai Eliseev moved to Admiral, headed by the Latvian Tambiev, Miks Indrashis signed a contract with Spartak, and goalkeeper Janis Kalnins signed an agreement with Amur.

We have already written about the reaction in Latvia to such blatant impudence of fellow citizens. Indrashis could not stand it, renounced Spartak, and now he wants to run away without paying compensation. Kalniņš turned out to be a tougher nut and immediately gracefully sent those who would try to interfere in his personal life under cheap slogans.



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Kalnins explained why he decided to continue his career in Russia

Eliseev, by the way, seemed to have been forgotten (although he played for Latvia at the Olympic Games-2022), but the cases of Indrashis and Kalnins were enough for the Latvian governing bodies to cross the line of adequacy. Mix seems to have been “recaptured” (violating all the laws at the same time), the local Ice Hockey Federation forbade Janis to play in the KHL, refusing to issue a transfer card.

But that would be half the trouble: the IIHF, which has no legal basis to allow Latvian hockey players and the FHL to wipe their feet on Russian clubs, had to solve the issues with the “escape from the crown” of Indrashis and the registration of the Kalnins transfer.

I hope the international federation will still adequately sort it out, but this may no longer be important. After all, quite wild news came from Latvia today: hockey players and coaches working in Russia got on the pencil of the local State Security Service and now they can get a prison term (Hashek applauds standing).



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Delfi: Latvian hockey players and coaches could get jail time for working in Russia

Absurd? Rave? Nonsense? No, these are the values ​​of a democratic society, as the Delfi report expressly states. In Latvia, they are so afraid that their citizens will somehow participate in “Russian propaganda” that they are ready to deprive them of their income for no reason, and even put them in jail.

And this question is, of course, the IIHF will not settle. So what should Tambiev, Kalninsh and Eliseev do? I don’t think they even know now. Of course, as long as they stay on the territory of Russia, nothing threatens them, but after all, it is impossible not to think about the future, about the family, and hardly anyone wants to be left without a homeland.

Leonid Tambiev

Leonid Tambiev

Photo: Dmitry Bondarenko, photo.khl.ru

So I won’t be surprised if Latvia eventually wins this vile rivalry for its hockey players, leaving people without good money, but with “clean karma”. Well, “Admiral” and “Amur” are not to be envied at all: perhaps the Far Eastern clubs will have to look for a head coach and a main goalkeeper at the height of the off-season.

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