Russia to appeal after being stripped of major sporting showpiece – official
The Russian Ice Hockey Federation (FHR) has confirmed its intentions to appeal against the International Ice Hockey Federation's (IIHF) decision to strip it of the 2023 World Championship.
The tournament was scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg from May 5 to May 21 of next year, but the IIHF handed down its ruling on Tuesday.
“Out of concern for the safety and well-being of all participating players, officials, media, and fans, the IIHF Council has decided to withdraw the hosting rights of the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship from Russia,” a statement read.
The ruling came after the IIHF had already banned Russian teams from its international competitions as a response to Russia's military operation in Ukraine, and had removed the 2023 World Junior Championship from Russia which was set to take place in December tand January in Novosibirsk and Omsk.
As confirmed to Championat by FHR First Deputy Executive Director Alexander Kiknadze, the Russian federation plans to appeal the decision in "due time."
The IIHF's press release added that a new venue for the World Championship will be confirmed during its 2022 Annual Congress next month in Finland, where this year’s World Championship will be hosted in Tampere and Helsinki.
With the Russian national team currently unable to take part in international tournaments, the FHR's president Vladislav Tretiak has revealed that the five-time World Championship winners will play friendlies against teams from the national KHL league.
"Remember how the USSR national team played against Edmonton and Calgary in the NHL," Tretiak said, also to Championat.
"Now, in order to raise interest, we will maybe play in Novosibirsk and in Omsk. The team of the best hockey players will play against Ak Bars Kazan, Novosibirsk, and Chelyabinsk," Tretiak added.
"I think these will be interesting matches, they will be held in different cities in our country. I have no doubt that there will not be a single unsold ticket."
"We will bring the best hockey players. We will hold three stages: in Moscow with CSKA, with Dynamo, and in St. Petersburg the team will also play," Tretiak vowed.
"And in other regions we will play in cities. This is still preliminary, we need to unite all the fans and prepare our team, [and] look through the candidates. We will still return to the hockey family," the president concluded.
One of the venues preparing to host next year's World Championship was the brand new, 21,500-seater SKA Arena currently under construction in St. Petersburg.
Construction on the arena will not be slowed despite the decision to strip Russia of the tournament, local officials said.