2024-02-13 · 2 min read · IIHF World Championship/Hockey
IIHF 2024

IIHF / The Associated Press

Today the IIHF confirmed they will be continuing to ban Russia and Belarus from partaking in events through the 2024/25 IIHF calendar. This comes after they reviewed the case today at a regular IIHF meeting and concluded it is currently unsafe to readmit one or both nations. Obviously due to this decision Russia and Belarus will not play in the upcoming 2024 IIHF World Championship to be held in Czechia. This also means Belarus will not participate in the final Olympic qualifiers being played in August of this year.
As Belarus will be unable to participate in the Final Olympic Qualification Round, for the 2026 games they will almost definitely not participate in the 2026 Olympics. Russia currently holds one of nine spots for the men's tournament, but its participation remains to be confirmed. It has been two years since the IIHF suspended all Russian and Belarusian national teams and clubs from participation in every age category and in all IIHF competitions due to the invasion and subsequent war in Ukraine. Qualification for the women's tournament is to be based on IIHF rankings following the world championship in Utica, N.Y., this April. The Russian women are currently ranked sixth in the world, but will not be able to participate in this event.
The IIHF set a deadline of May next year for its ruling council to decide if Russia and Belarus can return in time for the Olympics. The Russian men's team took gold at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and silver in 2022 in Beijing. It was only announced on Feb. 2 that NHLers would participate in the Olympics for the first time since 2014. At the same time, the NHL and NHL Players' Association announced a Four Nations event, involving the U.S., Canada, Sweden and Finland, which will take place in February of 2025. It seems under normal circumstances Russia would be in that group or it would be a five nations event (which I bet would really upset Czechia just saying). On Sunday, Ukraine's men's team completed a clean sweep of a tournament in Sosnowiec, Poland, earning it a spot in the final round of qualifying for the 2026 Games in Milano Cortina, Italy. The last round will feature 12 teams competing for three spots and will take place at the end of August.
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By: Chase Howard


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