Should Finland boycott the World Cup if Russia participates? Should Russian players be allowed to play in the NHL games in Tampere? The hockey association may face big questions: "Much that is open"

The NHL sent out a World Cup flirt in the direction of Russia and in just over a month, Russian NHL players will come to Tampere. The association’s chairman Harri Nummela is following the situation closely.

Last week brought a sudden knock on the door for suspended Russian athletes.

IOC representative Emma Terho revealed that discussions are being held behind the scenes. And even clearer signals were heard from the NHL.

– We would like it and I think our Russian players would like it. We want to include them in a good way, NHL boss Bill Daly said about the Russians’ participation in a possible World Cup in a couple of years.

But you’re not really there yet. This is the opinion of the Ice Hockey Association’s chairman, Harri Nummela, who emphasizes that the approach to Russian and Belarusian players is still that they cannot participate in international activities.

– Regarding the World Cup, the initial negotiations about the tournament are between the NHL and the IIHF. So far there hasn’t been much discussion – there are no agreements. There is much that is open, for example how the tournament will fit into the international calendar, as well as financial issues.

– As far as I know, the question of whether Russia will be allowed to participate in the World Cup in some form has not been on the agenda of the IIHF. The play is entirely NHL’s, hits Nummela for Yle Urheilu.

Russian NHL players in Tampere in November

Should Finland play in the World Cup if Russia is there?

– In the end, the international geopolitical situation is what decides. We all hope that it will develop for the better.

– If the situation is as it is today, I think that the key confederations in the hockey world have a common view that the decisions that are now in force should apply, the Russian players cannot participate.

The World Cup is thus still only on the drawing board and is planned for 2024. A more current issue is the double NHL games between Colorado and Columbus that will be played in Tampere in November.

Mikko Rantanen and Valery Nityushkin celebrate goals.
Mikko Rantanen is a teammate of the Russian Valery Nityushkin in Colorado.

Photo: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams have Russian players in their squads.

– These are events organized by the NHL, we have no organizing role, comments Nummela.

The Czech Republic will also soon host NHL hockey, as San Jose and Nashville visit the country for a doubleheader. Former great goalkeeper Dominik Hasek’s position is crystal clear.

Politically active Hasek has sent a letter to the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Not a single Russian player should be allowed on the ice in the Czech Republic to promote Russian aggression,” Hasek wrote on Twitter.

Does the association in any way intend to try to prevent the arrival of the Russian players in Tampere?

– So far we haven’t had any talk about that, says Harri Nummela.

The article is an edited translation of Yle Urheilu’s text Jääkiekkoliitto kommini NHL varapomon kohulausuntoa, jonka äötn venäläiset halutaan World Cupiin: “Täysin NHLn omaa dinningsea”written by Joel Holma.

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