On Monday, the International Ice Hockey Federation (“IIHF”) announced that Russia and ally Belarus are banned from its events “until further notice” in response to the invasion of Ukraine. The ruling affects seven tournaments, including the men’s world championships in May in Finland, and Russia will be barred from two August tournaments, the rescheduled world junior championships in Canada and the women’s world championships in Denmark. The IIHF also said it was pulling the December-January world junior championships out of Novosibirsk, Russia.
IIHF federation president Luc Tardif said in a statement: “The IIHF is not a political entity and cannot influence the decisions being taken over the war in Ukraine. We nevertheless have a duty of care to all of our members and participants and must therefore do all we can to ensure that we are able to operate our events in a safe environment for all teams taking part in the IIHF World Championship program. We were incredibly shocked to see the images that have come out of Ukraine. I have been in close contact with members of the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine and we hope for all Ukrainians that this conflict can be resolved in a peaceful way and without the need for further violence.”
The NHL also released a statement regarding the Russia/Ukraine conflict: “Effective immediately, we are suspending our relationships with our business partners in Russia and we are pausing our Russian language social and digital media sites. In addition, we are discontinuing any consideration of Russia as a location for any future competitions involving the NHL. We also remain concerned about the well-being of the players from Russia, who play in the NHL on behalf of their NHL Clubs, and not on behalf of Russia. We understand they and their families are being placed in an extremely difficult position.”
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