The Russian under-18 team has been hit with one of the biggest doping scandals in hockey history, according to multiple reports.
The entire team has been pulled from next week’s world championship after many players tested positive for controversial drug meldonium. Russia will send its under-17 squad as a replacement.
Meldonium first came into the spotlight when Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova tested positive for the substance last month.
In addition to the under-17 team, several top prospects including Windsor Spitfires defenceman Mikhail Sergachev and winger Vladimir Kuznetsov of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan are expected to participate for Team Russia.
Notable players who will now be missing in action are German Rubtsov, Dmitri Alexeyev Artur Kayumov, and Mikhail Maltsev. Russia kicks off the tournament on April 14 against the United States in Grand Forks, N.D.