IIHF suspends Ukrainian player Andri Denyskin one year for racist gesture

(David Becker/AP)

ZURICH — The International Ice Hockey Federation has suspended Ukrainian player Andri Denyskin for one year for making a racist gesture toward Jalen Smereck, who is Black.

The ban was announced on Tuesday relating to the incident from September during a game between HC Kremenchuk and HC Donbass. After each player was penalized, Denyskin made the racist gesture toward Smereck and was ejected.

Denyskin was initially suspended for 13 games by the Ukrainian Hockey League, which was the longest possible under its rulebook.

This suspension prevents Denyskin from competing in any international tournaments for the next year.

“Racist gestures, comments or actions have absolutely no place in the game of ice hockey, or anywhere, for that matter,” IIHF President Luc Tardif said. “Denyskin’s actions are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Denyskin immediately acknowledged his actions were wrong and apologized to Smereck and throughout the disciplinary process, the IIHF said.

It added it would work with the UHL to make sure league rules are amended for the possibility of harsher suspensions in the future.

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