Former Coach Andrei Nazarov Accuses Panarin of Sexual Assault


Daniel Scisci, Staff Writer

New York Rangers superstar Artemi Panarin has been accused of assaulting an 18-year-old girl in a Latvian Bar in 2011 by his ex-coach, Andrei Nazarov. 

On Twitter, there was an outcry from not only Rangers fans, but also hockey fans in general who supported Panarin. Many are under the impression that the claims made by Nazarov come with a grain of salt, as he and Panarin have experienced trouble with each other in the past, most notably when Panarin played for Nazarov. 

Once people checked the legitimacy of the claims, there was almost a unanimous belief from the hockey world that the accusation was a “political hit job,” an incorrect declaration made by someone with political intentions.

On Twitter, many people brought forward evidence to prove that the claims were false. This includes Russian sports writer Slava Malamud, who provided video documentation of Nazarov’s past wild behavior as a KHL coach. In one example, Nazarov was ejected from a game for attempting to throw a stick at fans in the stands. Another reporter, Aivis Kalnins, contacted the owner of the bar where the alleged sexual assault took place; the owner quickly denied the allegations.

As for the business side of this situation, Panarin decided to take a leave of absence from the Rangers. This puts the Rangers in a difficult situation, as Panarin is by far the best player on the team, who the Rangers rely on to help win games. With the Rangers’ schedule getting even tighter in the forthcoming weeks, this stretch will be a tough one for the Blueshirts, who hope to maintain a respectable record with Panarin out of the lineup.