KHL DJ sparks political drama after 'panicking' and playing wrong anthem

·3 min read
A mistake by a DJ in Finland has led to quite a kerfuffle. (@djamandaharkimo/Instagram)
A mistake by a DJ in Finland has led to quite a kerfuffle. (@djamandaharkimo/Instagram)

The one thing you can’t mess up when two teams from different countries play each other are their respective national anthems. Well, one KHL arena DJ had the misfortune of doing exactly that.

In a game between Finland’s Jokerit and the Belarusian club Dinamo Minsk, the DJ for Hartwall Arena in Helsinki played the wrong anthem for the visiting team. No wonder the entire squad was looking around in confusion.

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Amanda Harkimo, the DJ, later issued an apology through the Jokerit website.

"My sincerest apologies for playing the wrong anthem before yesterday's game vs. Dinamo Minsk,” she wrote. “It truly had nothing to do with anything else than the lack of my attention.”

Harkimo went on to explain that she was originally prepared to play the Russian anthem – since the majority of KHL teams are from Russia – but panicked and could not find a recording of the Belarusian anthem. After a nervous moment of silence for the flustered DJ, she played the completely wrong recording.

“I made a huge mistake and the timing for it was very bad,” Harkimo continued. “Jokerit nor anyone else had anything to do with it. I'm very sorry and would never disrespect any national anthem, Nation nor mix politics with sports on purpose.

“I made this mistake, no one else. And truly it was a mistake. I apologize to all the fans of Dinamo Minsk, all the players and staff. I really didn't want to disrespect any of you. I apologize to everyone. I'm so sorry.”

The simple mistake went all the way to the top, as the Belarus Ice Hockey Federation felt the need to release a statement as well, alleging there was a political agenda.

"The Belarus Ice Hockey Federation is deeply disappointed with the decision of the organizers of the match not to play the national anthem of the Republic of Belarus, which was offensive not only to the team but also to the entire Belarusian nation," the statement reads.

“The past season has already shown us that the Finnish club is under the influence of various political forces. This season, the Finnish club also made attempts to artificially escalate the situation around the Jokerit match in Minsk and to politicize it. Therefore, the incident with the Belarusian anthem looks like another link in the chain of similar events.

"We are sure that the Kontinental Hockey League will take note of the incident and take appropriate disciplinary measures against the Finnish club. Sports arenas are a place for sports ambitions rather than political ones.”

Jokerit is 60 percent owned by Hockey Hall of Famer Jari Kurri and the other 40 percent stake is owned by Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel, which is owned by Vladimir Potanin, one of the wealthiest individuals in the entire world, who is reportedly very close to Russian president Vladimir Putin. The ties are there, and enough for the Belarusian hockey officials to notice.

Who knew that one misclick would turn into a topic of conversation and force some to revisit foreign relations?

Jokerit doesn't play Dinamo Minsk again this season, so at least there's that.

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