The UHL has finally made a ruling in regard to the blatant and disgusting act of bigotry that occurred during one of their games, suspending Andre Denyskin for three games for directing a racist gesture towards HC Donbass forward, Jalen Smereck.
Included in the ruling, which was handed down Wednesday morning by the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine, is a stipulation that Denyskin can be suspended for an additional 10 games if he opts against paying a ₴50 000 fine.
That sum, when converted to Canadian dollars, equates to $2,391.75.
HC Donbass is expected to appeal the decision, while Denyskin awaits potential further discipline from the IIHF.
Smereck announced on Tuesday that he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team until Denyskin was either suspended or banned from league play.
It's hard to imagine an outcome in which the UHL and Ukraine's hockey federation handled this situation any worse than they did. Denyskin's gesture was a deliberate and methodical act of racism, not the unfortunate "heat of the moment" slip-up he tried to paint it as in his non-apology on Instagram. Suspending Denyskin for just three games and fining him such a meager sum sends a clear message that the UHL does not view an attack on Smereck's human rights as warranting significant discipline, and this light slap on the wrist will undoubtedly do very little to deter a similar incident from ever happening again.
What the UHL and Ukrainian had was an opportunity to demonstrate with meaningful action what their league stood for - and stood against.
This suspension did exactly that. And it's abhorrently disappointing.