NHL players who need work visas extended through the post-season were “strongly encouraged” this week to return to Canada or the United States (depending on which of the two countries they play in) by June 21.
According to Elliot Friedman, as the NHL and NHLPA negotiate an agreement to resume play, work visas must be addressed. The league’s calendar “ends” on June 30, and visas expire at that time. Since the pandemic makes it extremely difficult for the quick process of renewals, players were told in a memo “it is essential that you return as soon as possible to give your club enough time to process a renewal application on your behalf.”
The worry is that players who do not return over the next week will have difficulty entering North America in time for the potential opening of training camps on July 10.
As we first reported back in May, Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov is one of those players. When asked about returning to the United States, Samsonov told AllHockey.ru “I still have problems with the visa, which has expired.”
Samsonov and his family are currently in the suburbs of Magnitogorsk, Russia.
“My wife flew back from America, my family and relatives are here in Magnitogorsk. Therefore, I also immediately came here…They rented a house in the country. There are mountains, forest, Lake Bannoye. Still nicer than sitting in the city. Bathhouse, ATVs every day, it’s so relaxed!”
By Jon Sorensen