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IIHF Suspends Russia, Belarus National Teams, 2023 World Juniors To Be Moved

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The International Ice Hockey Federation made a major statement against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, announcing that it has suspended the Russian and Belarusian National Teams from IIHF competitions. It also withdrew the hosting rights of the 2023 World Juniors from Russia.

On Monday, the IIHF held a meeting to discuss “the impact of the current war” and spoke out against Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

“The IIHF strongly condemns the use of military force in Ukraine and urges the use of diplomatic means to solve conflict,” the IIHF said in a statement posted on Twitter.

IIHF president Luc Tardiff also offered his own thoughts.

“The IIHF is not a political entity and cannot influence the decisions being taken over the war in Ukraine. We nevertheless have a duty to 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 self environment for all teams taking part in the IIHF World Championship program.

“We are incredibly shocked to see the images that have come out of Ukraine. 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 further need for violence.”

READ MORE ON WHN: Ovechkin Speaks On Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

As a result, Russia and Belarus cannot compete at the 2022 IIHF World Championships in Helsinki. That means Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov cannot represent Russia at Worlds. Also, Aliaksei Protas, a native of Belarus, will also be unable to play. The World Championships begin on May 13 and go until May 29.

Ovechkin also discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, asking for an end to the violence. He called it a “hard situation” and advocated for world peace. Ovechkin also has family and friends in both nations.

“Please no more war. Doesn’t matter who’s in the war. Russia, Ukraine, different countries. I think we live in the world like we have to live in peace and great world,” Ovechkin said.

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