IIHF announces lengthy ban to UHL player Andri Denyskin for racist gesture towards Jalen Smereck

Published February 22, 2022 at 10:29

After much deliberation, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has finally come to a decision on how to proceed with Ukranian Hockey League player Andri Denyskin, who earlier this season, targeted a Black pro hockey player with a racist gesture.

Back in September of 2021, Denyskin and HC Donbass' Jalen Smereck got into a heated altercation, with Denyskin miming himself peeling a banana in Smereck's direction. As a result, Denyskin was issued a 13-game ban.

The IIHF did not believe the consequence was sufficient, and so the Federation has announced on Tuesday that Denyskin would be suspended for one year and are currently working with the Ukrainian Hockey League to amend their current rulebook to allow for stiffer punishments for future racist acts.

Denyskin has fully cooperated throughout the entire process, both admitting to the racist gesture, and apologizing to his team, the league and, most importantly, to Jalen Smereck himself. Per a report, Smereck and Denyskin shook hands following the awful and reprehensible act of disrespect.

IIHF President Luc Tardif issued the following statement on the matter:

"Racist gestures, comments or actions have absolutely no place in the game of ice hockey, or anywhere, for that matter. Denyskin's actions are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. While he has already served the suspension of thirteen games from his club team's league play, the Deciding Panel has determined that a further period of suspension is required."

Smereck has since left the UHL and signed with the DEL's Bietigheim SC Steelers, with whom he has recorded 24 points in 30 games so far this season.

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