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Nichushkin Set To Participate In Russian Summer League

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Valeri Nichushkin Avalanche

The next time Valeri Nichushkin suits up in a hockey game, it won’t be in a Colorado Avalanche uniform. In fact, it won’t even be in North America.

Nichushkin, who is currently suspended by the NHL for a minimum of six months after being placed in stage three of Player Assistance Program of the NHLPA and NHL, is set to play this summer in the Media Hockey League over in Russia, according to TASS.

“The second season of the league will begin on July 6 and end on August 31. Matches will be held in Moscow, but we also plan to hold several games in the regions. We are sure that Valery Nichushkin will take part, that’s for sure,” Nikolai Osipov said.

Osipov is the President of the Media Hockey League, and also created the Media Football League. Finding information on either of these leagues is remarkably difficult, but this doesn’t appear to be anything close to a real hockey league. It sounds a heck of a lot closer to Beer League or even Da Beauty League, which NHL players take part in over the summer in Minnesota.

The word “media” being in the title of the league should have been a hint. After doing some digging, it sounds like a lot of the participants in this league range anywhere from current players, media members, retired players, and players from other sports. Nikita Filatov, who was once a very high draft pick in the NHL by the Columbus Blue Jackets, participated in the first year of the league. He retired back in 2019 and has since become a player agent, so that gives you a bit of an idea of what this league is about. From what I have been told, the league has modified rules as well. Nichushkin is currently the only NHL player set to participate in the second season, although it sounds like there’s a chance more will be added soon.

It’s entirely possible Nichushkin has played his last game in an Avalanche uniform, although Avalanche GM Chris MacFarland left the door open just a little bit for a potential return. While he is in the Player Assistance Program, the Avalanche are unable to terminate his contract. His cap hit will not impact the Avalanche until he is reinstated by the league, but they still have to keep it in mind when they make their moves this summer.

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