The general manager of the Ukraine Hockey League (UHL) said on Thursday he has been fired from his role for speaking out about racism following an incident between two players during a recent game.
According to Eugene Kolychev, his voice was ignored in the decision to suspend HC Kremenchuk forward Andriy Deniskin for 13 games after he taunted HC Donbass defenseman Jalen Smereck, who is Black, when he mimed peeling and eating a banana.
"I have spoken openly about #racism in Ukrainian hockey and the Ukrainian Hockey Federation FIRED me as General Manager of the #UHL today," Kolychev wrote on Twitter. "Will it solve the problem? No. Will it silence me? NO!".
A UHL spokeswoman confirmed that Kolychev had been fired but declined further comment. A request for comment sent to the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine was not immediately answered.
The incident in Sunday's game has reverberated around the ice hockey world with many players and organisations calling Deniskin's punishment too lenient.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)