A former NHLer, and briefly a member of the New York Islanders, told the New York Post that he did not recall the altercation between New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin and an 18-year-old woman over a decade ago in Latvia.
Kip Brennan told the New York tabloid that he didn’t know anything about the altercation that Panarin’s former KHL coach Andrei Nazarov told a Russian Newspaper happened in 2011. Nazarov claimed that Panarin beat up the woman on Dec. 11, 2011, following a game in Riga, Latvia and that the incident was covered up after authorities were bribed with 40,000 Euros.
Brennan and Panarin were teammates on KHL club Vityaz at the time.
“I didn’t know or hear that something like that ever happened,” Brennan told the New York Post through Facebook messenger. “He was a great guy, he was hilarious in the locker room. He always worked on his English with the North American guys and was a very talented young player.”
Brennan appeared in three games with the Islanders during the 2007-08 season and recorded 12 penalty minutes. He spent most of that season with the Isles’ AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
There he played in 49 games during the 2007-08 season. He had a goal, two assists and 127 penalty minutes in his lone year with the Sound Tigers.
The comments by Brennan were part of a larger story about the questionable origins of the allegations against Panarin. As of now, no complaining victim has come forward and three other teammates of Panarin’s at the time are quoted as not recalling the incident or questioning the validity of Nazarov’s claims.
Artemi Panarin is an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and there is a belief that the allegations are politically motivated. Nazarov is a supporter of Putin and has critcised Panarin’s comments against the Kremlin.
“(Panarin) was a great kid, I have nothing but nice things to say about him, so when I heard that, I was like, ‘Oh, that doesn’t sound like him,'” said teammate Jon Mirasty, who also called the allegations fishy. “And I’m pretty sure I would have heard something like that, you know, being one of the older veteran players there.”
Artemi Panarin had been persued by the Islanders when he became a free agent in 2019. At one point it was reported that the Long Island hockey team had been the favorite land the prized free agent.
He ultimatly signed a seven-year, $81.5 million deal with the Rangers.