In its first public statement since Russia invaded Ukraine, the Washington Capitals are condemning the invasion while also supporting their Russian-born players.
"Monumental Sports & Entertainment and the Washington Capitals join the National Hockey League in condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the loss of innocent life," the Capitals said in a statement posted to Twitter. "We urge and hope for a peaceful resolution as quickly as possible. The Capitals also stand in full support of our Russian players and their families overseas. We realize they are being put in a difficult situation and stand by to offer our assistance to them and their families."
Statement from the Washington Capitals: pic.twitter.com/oXp4OMYMCd
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 8, 2022
The team's statement comes 11 days after its star player Alexander Ovechkin, who has openly supported Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past, commented on the matter, ESPN reported.
"Please, no more war. It doesn't matter who is in the war — Russia, Ukraine, different countries — we have to live in peace," Ovechkin said on Feb. 25 while talking to media members.
During the press conference, Ovechkin was asked if he supported the invasion, to which he replied, "I'm Russian, right? It's not something I can control. It's not in my hands. I hope it's going to end soon and there's going to be peace in both countries. I don't control this one."
The team captain has supported Putin in years past, but earlier this month, he stated that his country's invasion of Ukraine was a "hard situation," USA Today reported.
Since the invasion, the reaction around the hockey community has been strong.
Earlier this month, Ovechkin was being pulled from two sponsorship ads, TSN’s Rick Westhead and ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reported.
Westhead reported that the Canadian ice hockey equipment brand CCM Hockey has stopped using Ovechkin and other Russian NHL players in all global marketing initiatives.
According to ESPN, MassMutual also pulled its ad, which began running in October, but it "is no longer on the air.”
The sports outlet reported that the ad featured Ovechkin, his wife, Anastasia Shubskaya, and fellow Capitals player Nicklas Backstrom.