HC Kremenchuk forward Andrei Deniskin is facing disciplinary action from the Ukrainian Hockey League after making a racist gesture toward American-born defenseman Jalen Smereck of HC Donbass, who is Black.
In the second period of their game on Sunday, Deniskin shouted at Smereck and then pantomimed unpeeling a banana and eating it. He was ejected from the game.
The UHL said that disciplinary proceedings will be opened against Deniskin, adding that his behavior “is unacceptable within the framework of a civilized society.”
Donbass said in a statement that it “strongly denies all forms of discrimination” and that “racism has no place” in sports of society.
Deniskin posted an apology on Instagram, saying it was “a gesture that someone can consider as an insult in race,” that his emotions got the best of him, and that “I respect all people regardless of their race or nationality.”
Smereck, 24, is a Detroit native. He was formerly a member of the Arizona Coyotes organization and is playing in his first season overseas.