The Stanley Cup will not be allowed to travel to Russia and Belarus this offseason.
As has been the case for countless years, players, coaches, management and staff members of the National Hockey League’s championship winning team have typically been allowed to bring sports’ greatest trophy anywhere they so please for a span of 24 hours on their assigned day during the summer months.
That, however, will change following the conclusion of the 2021-22 NHL season, as the big brass have made the decision to ban Russia and Belarus as celebratory locations following the actions of those countries in their unlawful and ongoing attack on Ukraine.
“With respect to this summer, the Cup isn’t going to Russia or Belarus,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in the NHL’s annual media day event in advance of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “To that extent, we may owe a Cup trip in the future. That can happen like we did with the pandemic, but it’s not happening this summer.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning – which has won the last two Stanley Cups – have three players of Russian descent on its roster: Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Mikhail Sergachev – all of whom are star players and play in key roles for the Bolts. They have each won two Stanley Cups already.
For the Colorado Avalanche, Valeri Nichushkin is the lone Russian on the roster.
Despite pulling all activity from Russia, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman did say that NHL clubs would be allowed to still draft eligible players from Russia and Belarus in this July’s NHL Entry Draft, set to be held in person from Montreal, QB.
“They’re going to be totally available for selection, just like they are every year,” Bettman said of available Russian and Belarusian prospects.
The league has continued to promote its Russian players in the public eye as well as on its social media channels. Bettman, however, has not yet made a decision on Russia’s involvement in the upcoming 2024 World Cup of Hockey – tentatively set for February of 2024 – which will be the first running of the event since Canada took home the gold in September of 2016.