‘Classless & disrespectful’: Canadian hockey player under fire for failing to remove helmet during Russian anthem (VIDEO)
On Saturday, Russian hockey players dispatched their Canadian opponents with a crushing score of 6-0, leaving their North American counterparts in a state of shock.
Hayton, 19, who was visibly upset by the demoralizing loss, left his helmet on during the playing of the Russian national anthem.
This triggered outrage on social media, with many fans lashing out at the player for his “disrespectful” behavior.
“Today Barrett Hayton, captain of Team Canada’s world junior hockey team displayed one of the most embarrassing acts of character I have ever seen in hockey,” a former Canadian player Devin Setoguchi wrote on Twitter.
Today Barrett Hayton, captain of Team Canada’s world junior hockey team displayed one of the most embarrassing acts of character I have ever seen in hockey. Needs to issue a statement of apology now... or cut him mid tournament— Devin Setoguchi (@devin_setoguchi) December 28, 2019
“Take the C and bench him,” one more person added.
Take the C and bench him— Hwy_guy (@hwy_guy) December 29, 2019
“This kid has played [competitive] level hockey his whole life and has been hearing an anthem before EVERY game for at least the last 4-5 years. He didn't just ‘forget’ this one time,” another comment reads.
This kid has played competive level hockey his whole life and has been hearing an anthem before EVERY game for at least the last 4-5 years. He didn't just "forget" this one time— Cortex (@Cortex_EXT) December 29, 2019
“Classless from Hayton. Should be stripped,” a user said.
Having faced a backlash in the wake of the incident the player apologized for his behavior, underlining that he didn’t “intend to be disrespectful”.
“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 in a statement.
“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.
Statement from Barrett Hayton and Hockey Canada. pic.twitter.com/ikgoAGbalW— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 29, 2019
“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 also delivered apologies and stressed that it has “tremendous respect” for Russia, urging its players to show “the same respect” on the ice.
“Hockey Canada has tremendous respect for the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, its players, coaches, management and fans,” the statement said.
“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.”