NHL and IIHF Cut Ties With Russia


James Mulcahy, Sports Writer

The National Hockey League (NHL) is the most recent professional sports league to take a stand against Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine. It was revealed in a press release Monday that it has suspended its relationships with Russian business partners.

“The National Hockey League condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and urges a peaceful resolution as quickly as possible,” the statement read.

“Effective immediately, we are suspending our relationships with our business partners in Russia and we are pausing our Russian language social and digital media sites. In addition, we are discontinuing any consideration of Russia as a location for any future competitions involving the NHL.”

”We also remain concerned about the well-being of the players from Russia, who play in the NHL on behalf of their NHL clubs, and not on behalf of Russia. We understand they and their families are being placed in an extremely difficult position.” 

The NHL’s announcement comes after the International Ice Hockey Federation released a declaration of its own on Monday. IIHF said it banned teams from Belarus and Russia from participating in international hockey events ”until further notice,” and will relocate the 2023 World Junior Championship tournament out of Russia. Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, generating international outrage, including from within the hockey community.

Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin, who is from Moscow, didn’t denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin, but also didn’t make a plea for peace.

“Please, no more war,” Ovechkin said last week. ”It doesn’t matter who is in the war, Russia, Ukraine, different countries, I think we live in a world, like, we have to live in peace and a great world.”

The NHL’s all-time leading scorer Wayne Gretzky also spoke out on Saturday, calling the war in Ukraine “a senseless war” and advocating for the IIHF to not allow Russian players to participate in the World Junior tournament.