Mike Grier clarifies Sharks’ stance on Czech guidelines for Russian players

Grier clarifies Sharks’ stance on Czech guidelines for Russian players originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Two weeks before the San Jose Sharks’ season-opening visit to Prague, GM Mike Grier made his stance clear on the possibility of the Czech Republic refusing to issue visas to visiting Russian NHL players.

“Either we all go, or no one goes,” Grier told reporters on opening day of training camp.

This is in response to recent reports that Czechia, in solidarity with Ukraine, would not welcome Russian NHL players into their country for the upcoming Global Series between the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators. For the Sharks, this could affect wingers Alexander Barabanov and Evgeny Svechnikov, among others.

To the condemnation of most of the international community, Russian president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in Feb. 2022 and is still waging war there.

Against this backdrop, San Jose and Nashville are set to open the NHL’s regular season on Oct. 7 and 8 at O2 Arena in Prague.

“We can confirm that the Czech Foreign Ministry has sent a letter to the NHL to point out that, at this moment, the Czech Republic or any other state in the [visa free] Schengen zone should not issue visas to the Russian players to enter our territory,” Czech Republic deputy foreign minister Martin Smolek said in a statement.