Wayne Gretzky is calling for Russia to be barred from playing in the World Juniors hockey tournament.
“I think international hockey should say, ‘We’re not gonna let them play in the World Junior Hockey Tournament,'” he said in an interview with “NHL on TNT” over the weekend. “I think we got to, as Canadians, take that stance since the games are going to be played in Edmonton.” The rescheduled tournament is set to take place in Edmonton this summer after being put on hold due to rising COVID-19 cases in December.
— NHLonTNT (@NHL_On_TNT) February 27, 2022
Calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “senseless war,” Gretzky says he has been in contact with Ukrainians in the country this week.
“I talked to a couple of guys this morning who are living in Ukraine. They are actually driving from Kyiv with their families 14 hours, dropping them off, driving back, and picking up rifles and guns so that they can protect their own cities,” he says.
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is the body that makes decisions on any banishment from play. If it follows Gretzky’s calls, the IIHF would follow in the footsteps of FIFA who banned Russia from playing a World Cup qualifying match.