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'It's just important to be vocal': Flames' Zadorov on speaking out against Russian invasion of Ukraine


Calgary Flames defenceman Nikita Zadorov broke his silence on Friday and discussed his decision to speak out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Up until now, no other Russian National Hockey League (NHL) player has spoken out publicly against the invasion.

“I think it's important for me to speak personally. (I) think hopefully I can change some things in this world. And especially it just sucks what's going on over there right now and I think it's just important to be vocal,” Zadorov told media Friday.

Zadorov said he has parents living in Russia and they support the war. He is aware of the possible consequences of his comments.

“Well, probably can't go back anytime soon until Putin isn't the president or (while) that regime is still there, for sure,” he said.

Some Russian players like Alexander Ovechkin support President Vladimir Putin. The Washington Capitals star has not waded into the conflict much.

“I hope soon it's going to be over and there's going to be peace in the whole world,” Ovechkin said in February 2022.

Other Russian NHLers could be afraid to speak out because of fear of what may happen to them or their families living in Russia.

“You know that type of fear will have a strong impact on anyone. Who wants to put your family at risk,” said Rob Huebert of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

Zadorov said he tried to collaborate with other Russian players but there were too many opposing views. He hopes his comments open the door for other Russian NHLers to speak out against the war.

“There's a lot of young kids thinking the way I think. They just don't have a voice to speak out like this but now hopefully they can feel the support from me,” Zadorov said.

TSN’s Craig Button applauded Zadorov and said he hopes it encourages other Russian players to take action.

“I don't think Nikita is trying to bring all of this attention to himself. He really is looking and saying ‘this is wrong and I’m going to speak up’ and I think it's terrific that he's taken a position like that,” Button said. Top Stories

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