Report: IIHF Suspends Russia, Belarus from Competition, 2023 World Juniors Moved

According to reports, the International Ice Hockey Federation, IIHF, announced today that they will suspend Russia and Belarus from competition through August 2022. Additionally, the IIHF has moved the 2023 World Junior Championship tournament out of Russia.

Russia, Belarus Suspended from the IIHF

Speculation has been running rampant in the hockey world about what, if any, actions the IIHF would take against the two countries. Russia, and to a lesser extent Belarus, have both drawn worldwide condemnation against them for last week’s invasion of Ukraine. The invasion has lead to significant civilian casualties, destruction of properties, and a surge of Ukrainian refugees seeking safety.

This past weekend on TNT’s Saturday night hockey broadcast, Wayne Gretzky gave his thoughts on what the IIHF should do.

The IIHF is not alone in the international sporting world with today’s announcement. Both FIFA and UEFA announced on February 28th that Russia has been suspended from all competition for the foreseeable future. Russia had been vying for a spot in the 2022 World Cup ahead of this announcement, but will now obviously be disqualified from contention.

What This Means Going Forward

The IIHF’s suspension will effect both the men’s and women’s teams. The most immediate impacts are the scheduled tournaments taking place this spring and summer.

First up is the 2022 Men’s U18 World Championship taking place in April from Germany, in which both Russia and Belarus were scheduled to compete. After that, both nations were both set to play in May’s 2022 World Championship tournament in Finland.

Russia will also no longer partake in the re-scheduled World Juniors tournament this summer in Alberta, Canada, as well as being unable to compete in the 2022 Women’s World Championship taking place in August-September in Denmark.

The 2023 World Junior Championship tournament, which is one the IIHF’s premiere events, will no longer take place in Russia.

At this time, the IIHF didn’t name any replacement nations for any of the tournaments. Additionally, no word has been given on the status of Russia and Belarus for events past August 2022.

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