For Russian President Vladimir Putin, ice hockey is important. Russia is one of the best countries, has one of the best leagues and is one of the countries where the commitment to sport is highest.
There is no doubt that the president is proud of the country’s achievements on the ice.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a strong reaction in international ice hockey.
There was also a reaction in Norway. The Norwegian Ice Hockey Federation condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and demanded that the International Ice Hockey Federation stop its actions.
– It is now important that the world unite to stand up to the madness that we see a man in Russia doing now, Tage Pettersen, president of the Norwegian Ice Hockey Association, told TV 2.
After an extraordinary meeting on Monday evening, the International Ice Hockey Federation sent out a press release stating that Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to participate in any tournaments under the auspices of the IIHF until further notice.
Russia also hosted the Junior World Cup in ice hockey from late December 2022, but has now lost the championship. IIHF wrote that in the coming months they will find a new organizer for the championship. Russia and Belarus will also not be allowed to participate in the Ice Hockey World Cup in Finland in May.
Along with seven other member states, the Norwegian Ice Hockey Association sent a signed letter to the board of the International Ice Hockey Association (IIHF) on Sunday.
There, they demanded that the IIHF exclude Russian and Belarusian teams, athletes and shopkeepers at all levels of international ice hockey.
They also demanded that they immediately stop working with the Continental Hockey League (KHL).
– It is important that nothing has not been tried. I think Putin is doing very well in economic sanctions, but when his own practitioners are not allowed to participate, I think we will hit him in the stomach. It was important for us to send this signal, said Pettersen, who is also the parliamentary representative for the Conservative Party.
Germany, Switzerland, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia are the other countries that, along with Norway, are demanding exceptions.
Can participate in Norway
The exclusion requirements from international ice hockey apply here to all age groups at international championships, all elected representatives in international federations and a number of Russians on various committees.
The ban will not apply to Russian and Belarusian athletes in Norwegian ice hockey.
– This is not what we want to hit right now, said Pettersen.
TV 2 has been in contact with the head coach at Lillehammer, Alexander Smirnov. He did not want to comment on international sanctions against his home country or the invasion of Ukraine.
Ice hockey in Russia was also directly influenced by the opposition of other countries to the invasion.
Finnish ice hockey club Jokerit has withdrawn from the playoffs in the KHL. The team was second best in its department in the base game.
On Sunday, Latvian JSC Dinamo Rīga also withdrew from the league.
– We see no chance of cooperation with the KHL in such a military and humanitarian crisis, said their chairman.
In May, the hockey World Cup will be held in Finland. Now the Finnish organizers wrote in a press release that they would not accept that Russia and Belarus participated in the championship, as a result of the war.
Russia’s NHL star Alexander Ovechkin previously supported Putin. At the weekend, he avoided questions about whether he still supported the president, but he clearly didn’t want war.
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