International Ice Hockey Federation suspends teams from Russia and Belarus for invading Ukraine

The International Ice Hockey Federation announced on Monday that Russia and Belarus have been banned from its events “until further notice” in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

The announcement comes as sports federations around the world seek to ban Russian athletes from participating in international events amid the ongoing Russian military invasion of Ukraine. Belarus was an important base for the invasion.

“We were incredibly shocked to see the images that came 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 peacefully without the need for further violence.”

Both FIFA and UEFA have banned Russian teams from international football. On Monday, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee recommended that the federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competitions.

USA Hockey supported the IIHF’s decision.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine who are defending their country,” the statement said.

“The actions of (Russian President) Vladimir Putin and support from Belarusian government officials are more than reprehensible.”

Hockey Canada said it would ban Russia and Belarus from participating in events in Canada, including those not under the IIHF’s jurisdiction.

Canada will host the World Junior Championships in August, an event that Russia has won three times and been on the podium 16 times in the last 20 years.

“Hockey Canada strongly condemns Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine and supports the nation of Ukraine,” Hockey Canada said in a statement.

“Although this is a humanitarian crisis that goes beyond sport, we also stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian hockey family and all those affected around the world.”

The National Hockey League (NHL) also on Monday suspended ties with its Russian business partners and condemned the invasion of Ukraine, days after Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals’ Russia captain and one of the league’s top scorers, called for peace.

“Effective immediately, we are suspending our relationships with our business partners in Russia,” the NHL said in a statement.

“Furthermore, we are no longer considering Russia as a venue for future competitions involving the NHL.”

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