Chad Hipilito/Canadian Press
As if a blowout, 6-0 loss to Team Russia in the preliminary round of the 2020 World Junior Championship was bad enough, Team Canada captain Barrett Hayton, who has played 14 games for the Arizona Coyotes this season) came under fire in post-game ceremonies after he failed to remove his helmet during the playing of the Russian national anthem.
In a game in which Head Coach Dale Hunter’s team was outplayed and lost star Alex Lefreniere, Hayton added insult after the injury when, during the post-game ceremonies and playing of the Russian national anthem, he kept his helmet on rather than removing it, a decision that drew the ire of Team Russia and their fanbase, with Russia captain Grigori Derisenko beginning to skate towards Hayton during the post-game ceremonies before being intercepted by an official.
Barrett Hayton didn’t remove his helmet for the Russian anthem and Russia’s players were not pleased about it 😬 pic.twitter.com/thv5tCj82F
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 28, 2019
During the post-game handshake line, Derisenko and several other members of the Russian squad refused to shake Hayton’s hand, with Derisenko beckoning to his own head to display his displeasure with Hayton’s actions. In an interview with reporters, Derisenko said through a translator that Hayton’s actions were something that “the whole team did not like”.
Following the incident, both Hayton and Hockey Canada released statements:
“I’m sorry for leaving my helmet on for the Russian anthem following today’s game and I apologize to the Russian team and its fans,” Hayton said. “As a leader on this team, I was trying to process the game and evaluate how we can regroup. I was lost in the moment. The Russians played a great game tonight and my actions were not intended to be disrespectful. My mistake should not detract from their win. I owe it to my team and all Canadians to be better.”
“Hockey Canada has tremendous respect for the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, its players, coaches, management and fans. We expect our athletes and staff to share and show that same respect. Following today’s game against Russia at the IIHF World Junior Championship, Barrett Hayton did not remove his helmet for the playing of the Russian national anthem. Hockey Canada apologizes to the IIHF, the Russian Ice Hockey Federation and all Canadians for this incident.”
Team Canada currently sit last in Group B, while Team Russia currently sits atop the group. Team Canada is next in action against the Germans on December 30, while Russia plays the United States on Sunday.
By Michael Fleetwood