AIK parts ways with Agostino after Russian rumble

The storm around Skellefteå AIK has become a hurricane, after Swedish newspaper Expressen revealed a text message from Kenny Agostino, showing that he had the opportunity to break with the Russian league last summer but instead chose to stay for the money.

Kenny Agostino, here in the Olympics 2022, appears to have had the opportunity to break last summer's contract in the Russian league.

Kenny Agostino, here in the Olympics 2022, appears to have had the opportunity to break last summer's contract in the Russian league.

Foto: Annegret Hilse

Ishockey2023-08-23 12:51

The story surrounding Skellefteå AIK's recruitment of Kenny Agostino, who played in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) last season, has been the major topic of conversation in ice hockey circles in Sweden in recent days.

The criticism has been intense, although Skellefteå AIK has been clear that the club felt that the recruitment felt morally right, claiming that Agostino did not have the opportunity to break the contract last summer – a story that the player himself has confirmed:

– After last season, we were in contact with them (IIHF - International Ice Hockey Federation, the governing body of world hockey), and I had several clubs outside the KHL that wanted to sign me for last season. But since it was not possible to get my contract terminated in Russia, I had no choice but to honor the contract, Agostino told Norran on Monday.

But now, information from both Aftonbladet and Expressen has clearly pointed out that this story is not true.

According to Aftonbladet, Växjö had a finalized deal with Agostino last summer, but he then chose to back out due to the money being offered in the KHL.

Meanwhile, Expressen revealed a text message from Agostino that clarifies the situation: 

”I have a hard time giving up such a big difference in money. I understand that it's unknown, but it's just such a big difference. They continue to guarantee me that I will get a visa. It's very confusing," reads the text message.

– I can confirm that we had him signed, and the information we received was that he broke it off because he believed our compensation was too far from his KHL contract, says Växjö's sports director Henrik Evertsson to Expressen.

Åsa Andersson, club director of Skellefteå AIK

When Norran gets in touch with Skellefteå AIK's club director Åsa Andersson, she says the following about the information that has been revealed:

– What I can say is that the information we have previously released, that he (Agostino) tried to get out of his contract in the KHL, is what we knew. So what is being revealed now is new information for us.

Have you done too little research then?

– We have gone by the information we have received from the player himself and his agent. But of course, we must be self-critical if the new information is correct, says Åsa Andersson, who has nothing more to say right now.

UPDATE: 4.20pm

At 4 pm on Wednesday, the news came that Skellefteå AIK have parted ways with Kenny Agostino, because of the aforementioned information about his Russian contract.

–  For Skellefteå AIK, the question of his attempt to end his contract with the Russian club before last season has been important. New information in the media and from other sources changes our position. We therefore choose to break the contract, says Erik Forssell in a press release.

AIK's club director Åsa Andersson:

- We have had many contacts with partners, members, supporters and others with black and yellow hearts in recent days. People's love for and commitment to the club is the most important thing we have. We continue forward together and for the good of Skellefteå AIK.