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Gretzky: Russia should be barred from world juniors amid Ukraine invasion

Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

Wayne Gretzky believes the international hockey world should make a statement against Russia in response to the nation's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, a conflict the Great One called a "senseless war."

"I think international hockey should say, 'We're not gonna let them play in the world junior hockey tournament,'" Gretzky said during NHL on TNT on Saturday night. "I think we gotta, as Canadians, take that stance since the games are going to be played in Edmonton."

The 2022 World Junior Championship initially kicked off in December but was canceled during the round-robin stage due to COVID-19. Organizers rescheduled the tournament to mid-August, with Alberta staying on as the host.

Gretzky pointed to the Polish men's soccer team's actions as inspiration. Poland announced Saturday that it intends to boycott its World Cup playoff against Russia on March 24 in protest of the invasion.

"We wish everybody in the Ukraine all our best and our thoughts and prayers are with them," Gretzky said.

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