CCM Hockey, an equipment and apparel brand based in Canada, will no longer use Russian star and Washington Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin or any other Russian in global marketing campaigns to promote its products.
TSN reported that CCM also has contracts with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin and Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov.
“We are very sad to witness, like the rest of the world, what is happening in Ukraine,” chief executive Marrouane Nabih wrote in an email to TSN. “Although Mr. Ovechkin is not responsible for the Russian government’s actions, we took the decision to not use him (or any Russian player) on any global CCM communication at this point.”
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TSN, citing an anonymous industry source, reported that CCM pays Ovechkin more than $500,000 per year in addition to a percentage of sales in Russia for the partnership.
Ovechkin has previously supported Russian president Vladimir Putin, but said on Friday that his country’s invasion of Ukraine was a “hard situation” before deflecting further comment and saying he was an athlete and not involved in politics.
“It’s a hard situation. I have lots of friends in Russia and Ukraine, and it’s hard to see the war,” he told reporters on Friday. “I hope soon it’s going to be over and there’s going to be peace in the whole world.”
When asked about his current stance on Putin after the invasion, Ovechkin reiterated his support, with some caveats.
“He’s my president but … I’m not in politics,” he said Friday. “I’m an athlete and how I said, I hope everything is going to be done soon. It’s a hard situation right now for both sides. … I’m not in control of the situation.”
In 2017, however, Ovechkin started a social media movement called Putin Team during the Russian leader’s re-election campaign. The Instagram post included a photo of him and Putin.
“Being part of this team makes me proud and it’s similar to the feeling you get when you put on a Russian national team jersey, knowing that the whole country is rooting for you,” he wrote then in Russian.
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort