48 players from Canada are still grinding for the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) teams in Russia and Belarus. The Canadian government, therefore, has issued warnings for the players and advised them to leave the country at the earliest. Russia along with Belarus’ consensus invaded Ukraine in February this year.
Out of the 48 players in the countries, 44 of them are involved in the clubs that play for the Russian and Belarus courses. Four out of the 48 are in Kazakhstan as of now. Canada has been an ardent supporter of Ukraine’s side since the beginning. The Canadian government has been providing humanitarian assistance worth 320 million dollars to Ukraine.
Players have been in splits for KHL opportunities
The Canadian Press has even contacted the Canadian players following the Ukraine and Russia conflict to ascertain how the players were and the backing they have for their safety and security from the KHL league.
“There were a number of players caught in the crosshairs last year when all of this happened. They stayed and didn’t see any risk,” Winter said. Nonetheless, there was no response from any of the nine players.
Many players have been reported to refuse the offer of KHL participation. “From what the players tell me, the environment isn’t changed from what it has [been] previously. Many of them have balanced that risk and determined that they would play there,” said Winter again.
He even mentioned that each one has a different risk profile and that he has seen many American and Canadian clients turn down massive amounts of money. “Something I obviously don’t support is the war that’s going on,” said forward Jake Virtanen, who has joined the Oilers on a trial basis.
He noted that he had to leave because of the tough situation. “Me, personally, I wouldn’t go back because of it,” he said referring to his own tolerance for risk.
There is an immense risk factor especially after the nine KHL players not replying. The Canadians have done their bit by providing Ukraine with even military aid, but the problem still persists.