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Report: Ex-Canucks forward Brendan Leipsic petitions Vladimir Putin for Russian citizenship

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
9 months ago
Unlike many of his peers from North America, former Vancouver Canucks forward Brendan Leipsic remained in the Kontinental Hockey League after Russia invaded Ukraine in the winter of 2022.
Now, it appears that the 29-year-old from Winnipeg is looking to extend his stay in Russia — perhaps even indefinitely. According to a new report by TASS, a Russian state-owned news outlet, Leipsic recently petitioned Russian president Vladimir Putin to receive citizenship in the country.
SKA St. Petersburg head coach Roman Rotenberg wrote about Leipsic’s desire for Russian citizenship on his personal Telegram social media channel on Tuesday.
“SKA newcomer Brendan Leipsic expressed a desire to accept Russian citizenship and wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Rotenberg’s message read (translated from Russian). “It’s no secret that in North America he faced bias and injustice, and in Russia all these years he felt exclusively support from fans, coaches and partners.
“His favorite player is Alexander Ovechkin, and in Canada he grew up on the game of our great hockey players, such as Pavel Bure,” Rotenberg continued. “Perhaps Brendan himself will someday play in the form of the Russian national team.”
Leipsic has spent the last three seasons in the KHL after having his contract terminated by the Washington Capitals in 2020 after it was revealed that he had made derogatory comments about women and his teammates in a private group chat. The five-foot-nine left wing has essentially been blacklisted from the National Hockey League ever since.
After playing for CSKA Moscow in 2020–21, Leipsic spent the following two seasons with Magnitogorsk Metallurg and emerged as a productive KHL player. He recently signed a two-year contract with SKA St. Petersburg, one of the KHL’s wealthiest teams and one with strong ties to Putin.
Leipsic appeared in 31 games with the Canucks over the 2017–18 and 2018–19 seasons, collecting five goals and 14 points. He also skated with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights, and Washington Capitals during his NHL career, racking up 59 points in 187 contests.

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