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“It doesn’t seem like anything is missing.” Is the hockey world ready to take back Russia?

Date: July 23, 2024 Time: 01:59:30

The Russian national team has already been suspended from international competitions for three years. During this time, many things have changed, and in different ways. But the fact is that so far our team has not returned to the international arena. During this time we have already missed three world championships.

During the 2024 World Cup in the Czech Republic, the famous American journalist from The Athletic, Chris Johnston, spoke with several representatives of the Finnish national team and tried to find out if they were ready to bring Russia back. What did they say?

“Since the International Ice Hockey Federation banned Russian athletes, three men’s world championships have been held and the global hockey community appears to have completely dispensed with one of the most decorated countries in the sport.

This year’s Ice Hockey World Championship was a success in every sense, surpassing the previous attendance record, as well as offering exciting competition and an unforgettable finale.

At the time, there was certainly no sense that anything was missing,” Johnston writes.

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And this is an obvious thing, because some European countries still actively support the IIHF ban against Russia and Belarus.

During the World Cup, Johnston asked renowned Finnish coach Jukka Jalonen if he thought these sanctions were still appropriate: “Yes, of course. No doubt about it.”

Former Jokerit striker Ahti Oksanen also answered this question: “I think, given the circumstances, this is quite reasonable. I know that the situation in North America is a little different from the situation here in Europe, because in Europe we are very close to Russia and we deal with it constantly. “Now I think it’s reasonable.”

“There is no end in sight to prohibition,” Johnston concludes. “Indeed, the likelihood of Russia returning to the international stage in time for the Milan Olympics in 2026 is becoming more elusive by the day.”

In February, the International Ice Hockey Federation extended the suspension of the Russian and Belarus national teams until 2025. The IIHF cited safety concerns as the main reason. At the same time, the decision on whether or not to admit national teams to the 2026 Olympic Games will be made in the winter of 2025. It will be sad to miss the tournament, because for the first time in more than 10 years NHL players will attend the Olympic Games.

russian team

Photo: fhr.ru

“We will make a decision in February next year, as always,” said IIHF president Luc Tardif. “It doesn’t matter what the International Olympic Committee decides. “We have already done it before, we should not wait for the decision of the Olympic Committee, although, of course, we communicate with it.”

It is gratifying that Russian and Belarusian athletes will participate in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Yes, they will have to face some organizational restrictions, but still our athletes will have the opportunity to show themselves at the highest level.

So far, 47 athletes from Russia have been selected for the 2024 Olympic Games. But there may well be a pleasant addition. And we certainly expect a fight for gold medals.

Thus, our athletes will probably reach the 2026 Olympic Games in Milan. Although, of course, the absence of the hockey team will be a big disappointment.

“While this remains a sensitive topic of public discussion among players and executives (many of whom continue to work with people from these countries in the NHL or elsewhere), the hockey federations of the countries for which they played have been clear about their actions in peace in the championship,” Johnston writes.

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“The pressure would be unbearable.” Why Slovakia rejected KHL players at the World Hockey Championship

Only two teams invited hockey players from the KHL to the 2024 World Cup. They were, obviously, Kazakhstan, which received significant help, as well as France, which acquired automobil forward Stefan Da Costa at the last moment.

Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Latvia outright banned KHL players from playing for the national team starting in 2022. Slovakia joined later. In April, on the eve of the 2024 World Cup, they announced that KHL hockey players would not be allowed to join the national team, as they did not play for or train with the national team throughout the season.

Although, of course, the attitude of Slovaks towards Russia is gradually warming. In winter, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico openly opposed the ban on the Russian team.

The Swedish Ice Hockey Federation expressed its position more directly. In August 2022, the FHS permanently suspended KHL players from the national team. President Anders Larsson said in a statement that Sweden had sent an important signal to the hockey world because “this is about our core values.”

The last time our team played in the World Championship was in 2021 in Latvia. Then we were eliminated in the quarterfinals, losing to Canada. The tournament was held under similar conditions to the NHL bubble due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Most recently, the Russian team ranked third in the number of medals at the world championships. Taking into account the successes of the USSR, our team has a total of 47 awards. But after the Czech Republic won the 2024 World Cup, the Russian team fell to fourth place. Now Czechs and Swedes share second and third place with 48 medals. The leaders, of course, are the Canadians with 53 awards.

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If we take into account only gold, Russia has 27 medals, Canada 28. The Czech Republic, in third place, is far behind. He only has 13 World Cup victories.

“Russia is traditionally one of the best teams in the World Championship. The tournament was so important to the Russians that they almost always fielded a star-studded squad, with the best players willing to make the transatlantic flight immediately after being eliminated from the Stanley Cup, even if it meant only one or two games in the World Cup. . Cup,” Johnston writes.

At the same time, the journalist notes that for now it is unlikely that many teams will be happy with Russia’s return.

Jalonen adds: “Geopolitical issues need to be resolved (the wording was changed to comply with the legislation of the Russian Federation) and then it may take some time to allow Russia to compete again.

They are our neighbors. Our common border is more than 1,000 kilometers long. Of course, we must be prepared, because anything can happen. “I don’t think we’re afraid, but we’re prepared for anything.”

Jukki Jalonen

Photo: Sergey Fedoseev, photo.khl.ru

At the same time, some Finns directly express the hope that Russia will return.

“I think the whole situation should calm down,” Oksanen said. “They have to stop doing whatever they’re doing.” After this we will be able to rethink the situation, the entire hockey world will be able to rethink everything. Then, I hope they can come back.”

Of course, it is very sad that our team is suspended. I would not like to miss the 2026 Olympic Games. Still, this tournament should become one of the main and strongest in terms of its level in recent decades. Although there will be something to see there, without our athletes, as they say, it still won’t be the same.

The Finnish national team goalkeeper fondly remembers Russia:

“In the KHL I earned much more than anywhere else in Europe.” New Finnish stories about Russia

However, from everything that representatives of other countries say, the main thing follows: the attitude towards Russia is gradually warming. At first, people in Slovakia began to feel calmer about those who were going to play in our country. Now some Finns express hope that Russia will soon return to the international arena. That is, it seems that not even the Finns, whom many consider the main Russophobes, hate us.

And this gives hope that Russia will soon return to the tournaments and we will be able to enjoy our team again playing against the strongest teams in the world.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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