IIHF bans Russia, Belarus from its competitions ‘until further notice’

The Hockey Canada and USA Hockey released statements saying that they supported the IIHF's decision on Monday.

IIHF shuts down doors for Russia and Belarus
IIHF shuts down doors for Russia and Belarus

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has banned Russia and Belarus from participation in “every age category and in all IIHF competitions until further notice”. The apex body has also pulled the 2023 world junior hockey championship from Russia.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the IIHF council on Monday, in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week.

According to the IIHF, “these actions have been initiated by the Council in order to enable the IIHF to ensure the safety of IIHF Championships and all participating players, officials, and fans.”

The World Juniors was scheduled for December 2022 and January 2023 with Novosibirsk and Omsk as the host cities. These sites were chosen after the expiration of the two-year suspension for Russia as a result of a World Anti-Doping Agency ruling in 2020. But the latest unfortunate developments mean that Russia’s world junior team will also not be able to participate in the tournament, wherever it’s held.

The decision to relocate the event “was taken primarily out of concern for the health and well-being of all participating players, officials, and fans,” according to the IIHF.

“IIHF is not a political entity”

IIHF President Luc Tardif
IIHF President Luc Tardif

Among the other repercussions from this decision, Russia and their ally Belarus will not participate in the 2022 IIHF world championships in May. Adding to this, Russia’s women’s national team also won’t play in either the U18 or Women’s World Championship tournaments.

The IIHF is not a political entity and cannot influence the decisions being taken over the war in Ukraine,” IIHF President Luc Tardif said. “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.”

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