Doors are slamming in Russian faces
Russia is a sports pariah and that is a problem for the National Hockey League which has Russian players. The league is not going to cut loose any of those players for the rest of the season but the league knows it cannot do business in Russia. The International Ice Hockey Federation has banned Belarus and Russia in “every age category and in all IIHF competitions until further notice”. The international hockey group has taken away the 2022-2023 world junior hockey championship tournament from Russia. As of now, the IIHF is keeping the 2023 men’s world championships in St. Petersburg, Russia. Hockey Canada has banned Belarus and Russia from taking part in hockey tournaments in the country. USA Hockey is also supporting the IIHF’s decision. Still to be determined is the status of Russian players’ visas in the US and Canada if the players decide to go home during the summer and try to come back next fall.
The International Olympic Committee has sent out a memo that Belarus and Russian athletes and officials need to be banned from all international sporting events. Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic didn’t want to play Russia in soccer or FIFA’s World Cup qualifying. FIFA and the European soccer group, UEFA, ultimately decided to suspend Russia’s soccer teams from participating in all competitions. FIFA at first said athletes from Russia would take part as the “Football Union of Russia”. The hockey situation in North America may be impacted for years. The cosmetic changes, one hockey equipment company dropping Russian players from its advertising campaign or insurance company taking off a commercial, is temporary. But there are reports coming out of the junior leagues, the organizations that turn teenage hockey players into pros may not want any Russians around and that the NHL could shy away from taking Russian players in this year’s entry draft.
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