No decision made on China’s men’s hockey status for Olympics

The China Ice Sports College hockey team practices on the ice during the Experience Beijing Ice Hockey Domestic Test Activity, a test event for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo)

The International Ice Hockey Federation council held a call Friday to review the Olympic eligibility of Chinese men’s national team players, though no decisions were made about the host country’s status for the upcoming tournament in Beijing,

Officials are set to review information from the Chinese Ice Hockey Association about players on the host country’s potential player list. Another meeting is scheduled for Dec. 6.

Several players on China’s national team are North Americans who moved to play for a Chinese-owned club in the Kontinental Hockey League in an attempt to naturalize and gain Olympic eligibility. But the pandemic-forced move of KHL club Kunlun Red Star out of China and to Moscow adds a layer of uncertainty about whether players meet the eligibility standard.

Kunlun played two so-called test games against KHL opponents in mid-November with IIHF officials watching closely to determine the level of competitiveness. Players’ performances in a 5-4 overtime loss and a 4-1 defeat were apparently enough to satisfy concerns about how they’ll handle NHL competition in Beijing, making eligibility the only hurdle to China remaining in the Olympics.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.