Hockey Olympic prospects bleak


December 14, 2017
Russian ice hockey players with the words 'Russian is in my heart' on their sweatshirts attend a Russian Olympic committee meeting in Moscow, Russia.

MOSCOW, Russia (AP):

The president of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) said yesterday that he is waiting to find out how many Russians will be banned from the Pyeongchang Olympics before deciding if he will allow his players to compete in South Korea.

Dmitry Chernyshenko, the head of the organising committee for the 2014 Sochi Olympics but now president of the KHL, said: "We'll understand who's going and who's not going, and then the league will respond accordingly."

The Moscow-based KHL, widely considered the strongest league outside the NHL, previously expressed outrage at bans for Russian athletes in other sports tainted by doping at the Sochi Olympics.

No allegations have been made of wrongdoing in Sochi by the Russian men's hockey team.

With the NHL already out of the Pyeongchang Olympics, any KHL withdrawal would affect more than just the Russian team, whose current roster is entirely KHL-based. Teams like Canada, the United States, and Finland are also counting on KHL players for Pyeongchang.

Russians in Pyeongchang must compete as 'Olympic Athletes from Russia' under a neutral flag as IOC punishment for doping offences at the 2014 Olympics.

Also, the Russian Hockey Federation which accepts Russians competing as neutral athletes in Pyeongchang looked set for a dispute with the IOC over uniforms.

Russians in Pyeongchang are required to compete in IOC-approved uniforms without Russian national colours or symbols. However, the RHF believes that it can still use its existing Nike-manufactured jerseys, which are red with a large Russian double-headed eagle emblem across the chest.

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