The reason is the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in which Belarus participates as an ally. “As for the summer, the Stanley Cup will not go to Russia and Belarus,” AP quoted NHL Commissioner Bill Daly as saying.
“It may happen that, as in the case of a pandemic, we will allow it from a distance, certainly not this year,” Daly said. Tampa Bay has three Russian players – Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevsky and Mikhail Sergeyevich. Valery Nichushkin plays for Colorado.
Overseas League Chief Gary Bettman stressed in connection with the invasion of Ukraine that it would not affect the participation of Russian and Belarusian players in the draft. “Everyone will be available as in previous years,” he said.