CHL suspend Russia and Belarus from the Import Draft

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The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) have banned their teams from drafting Russian players.

The CHL, the collective body of the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) has announced that it will no longer accept players from Belarus and Russia to be drafted.

Although most of the drafted players are from Canada, the CHL allows teams to draft one international player every year in the CHL Import Draft. Because of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) sanctions on the two nations for their part in the war on Ukraine, the CHL had continued with the IIHF’s plan.

Also announced was the cancellation of the 2022 Canada v. Russia series, a set of hockey games that put players on three teams to represent their junior leagues and Russia would be the fourth to represent their junior league.

Players from the two nations however will continue to be allowed to play in Canada, as many teams do have a Russian import such as Niagara Ice DogsDanil Gushchin and London KnightsRuslan Gazizov. Although not as big as their Russian counterparts, Belarusian players also make up a part of the CHL which includes Oshawa GeneralsNikita Parfenyuk.

The IIHF ruled earlier this week that Russia and Belarus would be suspended from the 2022 tournaments, which includes the previously cancelled 2021 World Juniors. Players from the CHL who are of Russian descent will be unable to represent their country when the tournament is expected to go this summer.

In the statement from the CHL, the league had guaranteed the safety of all their current players including their Russian and Belarusian players. They said they will help develop their skill regardless of what country they have come from. Russian and Belarusian players will likely come back in the 2023 Import Draft.

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