Posted on February 24, 2022

IIHF Suspends Andri Denyskin 1 Year for Racist Gesture Toward Black Player

Colton Pankiw, Yahoo, February 23, 2022

The IIHF announced on Tuesday that it has handed Ukraine men’s national team player Andri Denyskin a one-year suspension, five months after he directed a racist gesture at Jalen Smereck in a Ukrainian Hockey League game last September.

The now-infamous incident saw Denyskin get ejected from a game after taunting Smereck — a Black opponent playing for HC Donbass at the time — by pretending to peel a banana and eat it. The upsetting viral video made its rounds through the hockey community almost immediately, with many describing it as an unforgivable act.

Days later, the UHL shocked and angered the hockey world when it announced Denyskin would only be suspended for 13 games for the disgusting act. This sparked plenty of public outrage, and resulted in Smereck leaving the league entirely and choosing to continue his career in Germany.


As it turns out, the suspension the UHL gave out was the longest allowable due to league rules. {snip{ Maxym Urda, the Referee-in-Chief for the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine, admitted that the league’s rules needed to be changed moving forward so incidents like this could receive more severe punishments. {snip}