IIHF set to discuss Russian participation in events on Monday

Russia's Vitali Kravtsov, left, is checked by Switzerland's Sandro Schmid during first period bronze medal IIHF world junior hockey championship action in Vancouver. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

The Swiss Ice Hockey Federation is calling for immediate sanctions against the Russian and Belarusian federations from the IIHF council as the group prepares for a key meeting on Monday.

The Swiss team says it will not travel to Russia for a pre-tournament friendly as part of their preparation for the upcoming IIHF World Championship. The federation is also requesting the immediate exclusion of the Russian and Belarusian federations from the IIHF.

"Swiss Ice Hockey condemns the actions of the Russian government in the strongest possible terms. In these difficult times, Swiss Ice Hockey's thoughts are with the Ukrainian ice hockey family and the entire Ukrainian population," the federation wrote in a statement. "Swiss Ice Hockey and other member federations have filed a petition with the IIHF asking for immediate and severe consequences and sanctions against Russia and Belarus, which supports the Russian government in its actions."

The Swiss federation is also asking for the IIHF to withdraw from organizing the world junior championship and men’s championship in Russia which are both scheduled to be held in 2023.

The International Ice Hockey Federation says it will hold a meeting of its council on Monday to discuss the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on its upcoming events.

The men’s Division 1 Group B championship is scheduled to start April 25 in Katowice, Poland. Katowice is about 300 kilometres west of the Poland-Ukraine border.

The IIHF said in a statement Friday that it was “deeply concerned” by the Ukraine crisis.

“The IIHF and its council condemn the use of military force and urge the use of diplomatic means to solve conflicts,” the organization said in a release.

“Our thoughts are with the people in Ukraine and the Ukrainian ice hockey family.”

- With files from the Canadian Press.

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