New Brunswick — Team Canada defenseman Morgan Rielly has defected to Russia in a desperate attempt to avoid playing any more games for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rielly is in Moscow to compete in the IIHF World Hockey Championships and shocked many by being the first ever Western player to defect to Russia.
“Anyone who’s surprised by this obviously didn’t have to watch Michael Grabner whiff on an empty net for the umpteenth time,” Rielly said at his press conference.
Without a visa or work permit, Rielly’s most likely future involves nefarious work for a Russian Mafia syndicate.
“Finally, I’ll be doing something I can be proud of,” he said. “It will be nice for my family to be able to show their faces in public again.”
The move has triggered a domino effect within the organization as no fewer than 18 other players have sought asylum in Russia on the grounds of “basic human dignity.”
Amnesty International opened a file on the player’s behalf claiming that being subjected to play for the Maple Leafs is the greatest human rights atrocity in a generation. “The humiliation, degradation, and suffering is simply beyond words,” the organization said in a statement. “Anyone who tried watching that power play last season would agree.”
Nowhere has the support for Rielly been stronger than right here in New Brunswick. From Edmundston to Woodstock, Caraquet to Shediac and all points in between, candlelight vigils have been held to honour the memory of Morgan Rielly, whom everyone can agree, has gone to a better place — likely one of Putin’s secret forced labour prison camps.
“At least he’s somewhere he won’t be miserable,” said Moncton vigil attendee Clarence McPhee.
All eyes now turn to an understandably inconsolable Auston Matthews, the Maple Leafs’ presumptive first overall pick in June’s entry draft. Matthews said he has made peace with his fate even though it proves there cannot be a loving, benevolent God.
“I still hope and pray every day that my legs will be chewed off by wolverines but quite frankly, I just don’t think I’ll be that lucky,” he said.