IIHF suspends Russian and Belarusian teams amid ongoing military invasion of Ukraine

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) on Monday suspended Russian and Belarusian teams from its competitions until further notice and revoked Russia’s 2023 World Junior Championship hosting rights.

The announcement comes as sports bodies around the world are banning Russian athletes from participating in international events amid Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.

“We were incredibly shocked to see the images that came out of Ukraine,” IIHF President Luc Tardif said in a statement.

“I have been in close contact with the Ukrainian Ice Hockey Federation and we hope for all Ukrainians that this conflict can be resolved peacefully and without resorting to further violence.”

FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russian teams from international football and the International Olympic Committee’s executive board has recommended federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition.

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The National Hockey League (NHL) also suspended relations with its Russian business partners on Monday and condemned the invasion of Ukraine, days after Alex Ovechkin, the Russian captain of the Washington Capitals and one of the scorers most prolific in the league, has called for peace. .

The NHL also announced that it would no longer seek to host “future competitions” in Russia. The league occasionally holds regular season or exhibition games in Europe, with the last holding an exhibition in Russia in 2010.

“The National Hockey League condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and urges a peaceful resolution as soon as possible,” the league’s statement read.

He also said: “We also remain concerned about the welfare of Russian players, who are playing in the NHL on behalf of their NHL clubs, not on behalf of Russia. We understand that they and their families are placed in an extremely difficult position.”

In a statement, Hockey Canada also condemned Russia’s attack and said it supported the IIHF’s decision, while adding that it would not allow Russian participation in events outside the jurisdiction of the IIHF. the IIHF on Canadian soil.

Just over a week ago, the Russian Olympic Committee’s men’s ice hockey team clinched silver at the Beijing Winter Games after losing to Finland in the championship.

“The IIHF is not a political entity and cannot influence decisions made on the war in Ukraine,” Tardif said.

“We nevertheless have a duty of care to all of our members and participants and must do everything we can to ensure that we are able to run our events in a safe environment for all teams participating in the IIHF World Championship. .

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