IIHF suspends Russian, Belarusian teams amid ongoing military invasion of Ukraine
NHL halts ties with Russian business partners days after Ovechkin's call for peace
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 sporting bodies around the globe move to bar Russian athletes from competing in international events amid Russia's ongoing military invasion of Ukraine.
"We were incredibly shocked to see the images that have come out of Ukraine," IIHF President Luc Tardif said in a statement.
"I have been in close contact with 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."
Both FIFA and UEFA suspended Russian teams from international football and the International Olympic Committee's executive board recommended federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition.
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The National Hockey League (NHL) suspended ties with its Russian business partners as well on Monday and condemned the invasion in Ukraine, days after Alex Ovechkin, the Russian captain of the Washington Capitals and one of the league's most prolific goal scorers, called for peace.
The NHL also announced it would no longer seek to hold "any future competitions" in Russia. The league sometimes holds regular-season or exhibition games in Europe, last holding an exhibition in Russia in 2010.
"The National Hockey League condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine and urges a peaceful resolution as quickly as possible," the league's statement said.
It also said: "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."
In a statement, Hockey Canada also condemned Russia's attack and said it supported the IIHF's decision, while adding it would not allow Russian participation in events outside the IIHF jurisdiction on Canadian soil.
Just a little over a week ago, the Russian Olympic Committee's men's ice hockey team took silver at the Beijing Winter Games after losing to Finland in the championship.
"The IIHF is not a political entity and cannot influence the decisions being taken over the war in Ukraine," said Tardif.
"We nevertheless have a duty of care to all of our members and participants and must 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