“Everyone just laughed at me”

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The war broke out and Dan Sexton wanted to leave the KHL.
Then he was met by mocking and laughing teammates.
– They laughed, but I didn’t think it was funny at all, says Växjö’s star acquisition.

Last year over 40 Swedes played in the KHL, the world’s second best hockey league. But after the war broke out in Ukraine, after an invasion from Russia, many Swedes chose to leave the league. Next season, only seven blue-and-yellow players played in the league, at the same time that the SHL became considerably more famous.

Mocked in Russia

But it is not only Swedes who have left the KHL to play in the SHL. In the KHL, for example, zero Czechs play, and one Finnish player next season. Even North Americans have decided to break their contracts for games in other European countries, and one of these is Dan Sexton. Sexton has NHL experience and last year scored 24 points in 46 games in Neftekhimik Nizhekamsk.

220826 Växjö’s Dan Sexton during the warm-up before the training match in ice hockey between Växjö and Rögle on August 26, 2022 in Alvesta. Photo: Jonas Ljungdahl / BILDBYRÅN

When the war broke out, he decided to leave Russia, but in response he received derisive laughter from teammates.

– The first day it happened, I came to the hall and my teammates were joking about how I wouldn’t be able to leave the country. They laughed, but I didn’t think it was funny at all, he tells Radiosporten.

Missed out on millions

Dan Sexton was divided between two camps – all the foreigners in the league who said he should leave, and the Russian teammates who thought it was a gross exaggeration.

– Everyone from the USA said that I had to go home, but all the Russians said that I had to stay, that there was nothing wrong. I got two completely different stories, he says.

220917 Växjö’s Dan Sexton during the ice hockey match in the SHL between Oskarshamn and Växjö on September 17, 2022 in Oskarshamn. Photo: Suvad Mrkonjic / BILDBYRÅN

Dan Sexton decided to leave, but it wasn’t the easiest thing.

– I was in a meeting for several hours, with managers and leaders, but they only spoke Russian to me. They didn’t let me go. I had to leave completely on my own, and I escaped at night. It was all confusing.

Dan Sexton came up with a plan, and later managed to break the contract. With that, he also lost millions of kroner.

– It was stressful for me, and scary. But I think a lot of players were happy to leave that much money behind.

READ MORE: Wayne Gretzky’s gift to his Swedish teammates is worth millions – lost for 10 years: “I never sell it”

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