The jokers’ office has had to wrestle with the corona epidemic and the problems brought by Alexander Lukashenko this season, and Russia can’t be easily followed, writes Tero Hakola, a news producer for HS’s sports editorial office.
The journey of the Helsinki Jokers in the Russian-led KHL League has been painful, and no relief is promised.
The Jokers is a top-notch hockey team. In addition to playing Jari Kurrin the club will have to follow closely what is happening in other KHL countries.
This season of the Jokers began in the face of a storm. The team was due to open its seventh KHL season in September as a guest of Dinamo Minsk after protests against Belarus’s authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko against were at their widest.
The Jokers canceled the trip to Belarus only at the last minute. Before that, among other things, the club’s fans and the sports minister Annika Saarikko had argued that the team would skip the match due to the political situation in the country.
After the initial storm, the season continued surprisingly serene, although the corona epidemic melted the game schedule. Some of their home games have been played by the Jokers abroad.
Sports club Jokers has been part of a bigger game throughout its KHL history.
Many may have already forgotten that during the club’s first KHL season, 2014-2015, Russia had recently conquered the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine and the war in eastern Ukraine had begun.
A year earlier, opponents of the Jokers would also have included Donbass Donetsk. The Jokers did not have time to make a single trip to Ukraine, as Donetsk was left at the foot of the war. The club’s home hall also burned down and it changed the city and the series.
Under such circumstances, the Jokers ’participation in the KHL League was, of course, astonishing, and EU sanctions on Russia, for example, made it difficult for the club to cash in.
Now The jokers’ office has to reconsider Russia. The reason is the country’s opposition leader Alexei Navalny imprisonment as well as the president Vladimir Putin protests against
The relationship between Russia and the EU, to which the Jokerit in the KHL inevitably is linked, is poor. Following his failed visit to Moscow, a leading figure in the European Union’s foreign policy Josep Borrell already imposed new sanctions on Russia.
In Belarus the situation has calmed down somewhat but has not been resolved in any way. Peaceful protesters are still fighting for Lukashenko’s power, but he has no intention of surrendering.
The Joker of one mine seems to be dodging this season, namely traveling to Minsk.
The top four in the KHL western block have escaped from the other teams in the block by more than ten points and the Jokerit and Dinamo Minsk are in the latter. That way, they can’t face each other, at least in the first round of the playoffs.
Next season, the Jokers will face new storms again, although there is always speculation on its return to the domestic League.
However, according to current knowledge, the Jokerit will play in KHL at least as long as its Russian financier Vladimir Potanin pay for violins.