Painful ending for the national hockey teams of Russia and Belarus for the 2024-25 season.

IIHF Upholds Ban on Russia and Belarus from International Hockey for 2024-25

National hockey teams for Russia and Belarus will not be eligible in IIHF competitions for the 2024-25 season.

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The International Ice Hockey Federation announced on Monday that Russia and Belarus will not be reinstated into IIHF competitions for the 2024-25 season.

Russia and Belarus have been excluded from IIHF play since the federation’s council vote in February 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Two years since the initial ruling, the war in Ukraine is ongoing.

“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,” a statement from the IIHF read.

As a result, Russia and Belarus will be ineligible to participate in the men’s and women’s World Championships, world juniors and U-18 competitions. Belarus will also be disqualified from the final round of the Men’s Olympic qualifier for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy, which is taking place in August.

“The IIHF Council will continue to monitor the situation, with the latest date to determine if it is safe to reincorporate Russia and Belarus for the 2025/2026 Championship season in May 2025 at the IIHF Council meeting ahead of the IIHF Annual Congress,” the statement continued.

Non-IIHF events, such as the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, U-17 World Hockey Challenge, the Four Nations Cup and Euro Hockey Tour, have also excluded the countries.

Notable Russian NHL players include Alex Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, Artemi Panarin, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Sorokin, Igor Shesterkin and Andrei Vasilevskiy. The country has won 13 gold medals at the world juniors, which is second behind Canada all-time. Russia and the former Soviet Union have a combined nine gold medals at the Olympics in men’s ice hockey, tied with Canada for first, and they’re second in men’s World Championship wins, with 27. The national women’s team has had three bronze medals at the World Championship.

Yegor Sharangovich, Alexi Protas, Vladislav Kolyachonok and Ilya Solovyov are the only four active Belarus players in the NHL. Since becoming an independent IIHF member in 1992, Belarus’ men’s team has participated in the world juniors on four occasions (2002, 2003, 2005, 2018) and the Olympics three times (1998, 2002, 2010).

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