Ukraine Hockey League GM fired for speaking out on racism in incident involving former Oshawa General Jalen Smereck

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Published September 30, 2021 at 2:35 pm

Jalen Smereck with the Oshawa Generals in 2015-16. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

The general manager of the Ukraine Hockey League was fired today for speaking out against racism, the latest chapter in what appears to be deeply ingrained racism in Ukrainian hockey.

Evgeniy Kolychev said on his Twitter account he was fired by the Ukrainian Hockey Federation for speaking “openly” about racism in the game after Kremenchek forward Andrei Deniskin’s “grotesque racial gesture” against former Oshawa General Jalen Smereck in a UHL game last weekend.

Deniskin was suspended just three games and fined the equivalent of $2,386.85 CAD – the maximum allowed under league rules – for mimicking peeling and eating a banana to taunt Smereck, who is Black.

Smereck took a leave of absence from his HC Donbass club after the incident and has not announced if he will be returning to the team.

Support for Smereck has been widespread and condemnation for the suspension was swift, with many voices – including Kolychev’s – urging the International Hockey Federation to investigate and take further action.

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