The Invasion of Ukraine Continues to Setback the Russian Hockey Team

The Invasion of Ukraine Continues to Setback the Russian Hockey Team

On February 12, 2024, the International Ice Hockey Federation continued the ban on both Russia and Belarus from competing in the 2024 World Championships in Prague this May. The suspension has been in place since February 2022.  


The decision came during a regularly scheduled meeting noting in their press release that “The IIHF Council concluded that it is not yet safe to reincorporate the Russian and Belarusian Teams back into IIHF Competitions” 


While the yearly world championships don’t often see the best players in the world compete since it codices with the NHL playoffs the ramifications of this suspension have already hurt the major international tournaments. 


The biggest stage for up-and-coming prospects has been with a major contender since 2021. The world juniors have been without the Russian team since that 2021 tournament where they finished in 4th place


In addition, the news in February has already hurt Belarus. “This decision will also apply to the Belarusian team regarding the Final Olympic Qualification Round that will be played in August 2024.”


Russia, they are currently slotted in group c for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Milano. While they don’t currently compete internationally, Russia is 3rd in the IIHF world rankings


The 2026 Olympics is of note as it will be the first time since the 2014 Sochi Games that NHL players will be allowed to compete


Since 2014 Russia has fared very well in the Winter Olympus while still being down some of its top products like Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. With no NHL players in the past two Olympics Russia took home the gold in 2018 and the silver in 2022

This news continues to take opportunities from Russia and Belarus to compete on the international stage, most notably with their exclusion from the World Junior tournaments. However, a suspension from the upcoming Olympics is what most fans fear most. For the first time in 12 years, we will see the very best players in the world compete for their native countries. For now, the invasion of Ukraine will continue to set back the sport that Putin has scored the most on.

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