Ukrainian league fires GM who supported Jalen Smereck

9/30/2021 1:29:29 PM EST

The Ukraine Hockey League fired general manager Eugene Kolychev on Thursday, a day after he planned to appeal for a stricter ban of a player who made a racist gesture toward Black player Jalen Smereck.

"I have spoken openly about racism in Ukrainian hockey and the Ukrainian Hockey Federation FIRED me as General Manager of the UHL today," Kolychev posted to Twitter.



On Wednesday, Kolychev tweeted he would seek stronger disciplinary action again Andrei Deniskin, who was suspended just three games and roughly $1,870 U.S. for a racial gesture he made against Smereck. Kolychev said he was taking his appeal, on behalf of the UHL, to the International Ice Hockey Federation.

But Kolychev was fired Thursday by the UHL.

"My voice has been ignored in the decision over the penalty against Andrei Deniskin, who showed a racial gesture to Jalen Smereck. ... Jalen, we got your back!"



The disciplinary committee of the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine made the decision to suspend Deniskin three games, or 13 if he elected not to pay the fine.

On Wednesday, Smereck told ESPN that his "heart just kind of dropped" when he saw the length of the suspension.

"I'm not even looking at this as a suspension. This can't be taken seriously," Smereck said. "You get more games for a cross-check or a stupid hit ... for hockey plays. And this is completely un-hockey-like. It's just a bad thing all around."

During the second period of a game on Sunday, Deniskin shouted at Smereck and mimicked peeling a banana and eating it. Deniskin was ejected for his gesture and posted an apology on Instagram after the game.

--Field Level Media

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