Top NHL player agent comments on possible sanctions on Russian players

Published March 2, 2022 at 10:05

In 1991 when the USSR was on the brink of collapse, 17 year-old Dan Milstein arrived in the USA as a refugee with his family. Milstein was born in Kyiv, which makes what's happening in Ukraine hit so close to home for the player agent. He is now speaking out on the disturbing fact that some of his players are being harassed due to their ethnicity.

"People need to be aware that this is going on. This is racism & it needs to stop."

Dan Milstein and his agency, Gold Star Sports Management, represent almost 80% of Russian and Belorussian born players in the NHL, which include high profile names like Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Nikita Zadorov and Ilya Sorokin to name a few. Milstein has said that this past week his players have faced discrimination due to the conflict in Ukraine. In an interview with ESPN he said, "The discrimination and racism these Russian and Belarusian players are facing right now is remarkable. We're being set back 30 years. I have players calling me, parents calling me. They're concerned whether they'll be able to play, whether they'll be safe."

Milstein said that players aren't worried for their own well being, but if they were to speak out, the players are concerned what may happen to their families.

"My clients aren't as nervous for themselves, but when they are on the road, and they have a wife and a newborn child at home that are alone, there are major concerns."

Gold Star Management also represents 15 Russian-born players projected to be selected in the 2022 NHL draft class. Some are projected to go in the first round, but that is now in doubt because of their nationality. Some of the players are already in North America playing in the CHL and USHL but their families are back in Russia. Other prospects still in Russia now face uncertainty in being drafted this year due to questions over their eligibility in procuring work visas due to the ongoing conflict in the region.

"Some hockey executives have already expressed concern in the upcoming draft whether those players will ever be able to come out [of Russia] and play, and some of them are concerned about the public opinion when certain players are drafted," Milstein said. "I try to understand the teams, and of course public opinion matters, but this is pure discrimination. And these are young men's lives we're talking about. Innocent young men who are now being punished."

There is also talk that the USHL and CHL are considering banning Russian players from being drafted next year in the respective leagues Import Drafts. This is something Milstein said would "crush the dreams of these teenagers and potentially change the trajectory of their entire careers."

Milstein has always steered clients to what he believes is best for their development, and if they have dreams of making the NHL he hasn't been shy of steering them towards the North American junior leagues. According to ESPN, Dan Milstein stated one of his clients in the Canadian Hockey League, who is Belarusian, was booed by his own team in the locker room last week. The player brought the incident to the attention of the general manager. However, the player has mentioned it happened again within the past 48 hours.

This is a very fluid and complicated situation that is affecting both the professional and junior ranks. This is something we will be keeping a close eye on.
March 2   |   124 answers
Top NHL player agent comments on possible sanctions on Russian players

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