Finland’s Jokerit pulls out of KHL playoffs amidst Ukraine invasion

Jokerit Helsinki's goaltender Anders Lindback. (Sergei Fadeichev/TASS)

Jokerit Helsinki has pulled out of the 2021-22 Kontinental Hockey League playoffs.

The team, based out of the Finland’s capital city, said continuing its season would be impossible following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“My position on the end of the season was clear right on Thursday morning,” said Jokerit chairman Jari Kurri in a statement. “However, in accordance with KHL policies, I had to have discussions with the league. That is why we are unfortunately only able to report this now.”

Jokerit was set to take on Russian capital club Spartak Moscow on March 1.

“The world is going through really difficult times right now. All our thoughts are with the people suffering from the situation. We hope that a peaceful solution to the situation can be found soon,” Kurri added.

“We’re very sorry to lose Jokerit, an excellent and vibrant team, with a recognizable style,” KHL president Alexei Morozov said in a statement. “Games with all the teams in the league have always been interesting. It’s very unfortunate that the Jokerit’s departure is due not to sporting reasons, but to political ones.”

Jokerit joined the KHL for the 2014-15 season and competes in the Bobrov division along with four Russian clubs. Jokerit is one of the five non-Russian KHL teams, the others being Belarus’ Dinamo Minsk, China’s Kunlun Red Stars, Latvia’s Dinamo Riga and Kazakhstan’s Barys Nur-Sultan.

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