Russia and Belarus remain banned from international hockey by IIHF until 2025

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The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced on Monday that Russia and Belarus will not be participating in international hockey competitions for the 2024-25 hockey calendar.

The IIHF stated, “Based on a thorough analysis, the IIHF Council concluded that it is not yet safe to reincorporate the Russian and Belarusian Teams back into IIHF Competitions.”

The IIHF suspended all Russian and Belarusian national teams and clubs from participation in all IIHF competitions two years ago due to the invasion and war in Ukraine. However, Russian nationals continue to play in the NHL without sanction.

As a result of this decision, Belarus will not be able to participate in the Final Olympic Qualification Round for the 2026 Games in August. Russia’s participation in the men’s tournament also remains to be confirmed.

The IIHF has 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 won gold at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and silver in 2022 in Beijing.

On Feb. 2, it was announced that NHL players would participate in the Olympics for the first time since 2014. Additionally, a Four Nations event involving the U.S., Canada, Sweden, and Finland will take place in February 2025. Ukraine’s men’s team has also secured a spot in the final round of qualifying for the 2026 Games in Italy.

With files from The Associated Press

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