The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Council has banned Russian and Belarus from competition for the 2023-24 championship season.
In a statement released on Thursday, the IIHF announced that it reviewed options for reintegrating the Russian and Belarusian teams. However, due to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the IIHF determined there were too many risks for all involved to incorporate Russia and Belarus at this time.
"Based on a detailed risk assessment from a renowned company that specializes in assessing risks due to various global challenges, the IIHF Council determined that it is not yet safe to reincorporate the Russian and Belarusian Teams back into IIHF Competitions, and that it will not be safe for the upcoming 2023/2024 IIHF Championship season," the IIHF said in a statement. "Therefore, the IIHF will move forward with the 2023/2024 IIHF Championship season without the Russian and Belarusian Teams."
That means Russia and Belarus will miss the 2023 men's championship, which will be in Finland and Latvia this May, and the 2024 women's championship, which will take place in the United States.
The IIHF Council will reevaluate the status of Russia and Belarus at next year's council meeting, and president Luc Tardif said the goal is to reintegrate both countries in time to qualify for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
"First of all, we gave a mandate to the coordination committee to work during the year and come back for a process of integration for Belarusian and Russian teams in our competition," Tardif said. "Also, to figure out how it can be possible, if the conditions are met, to reintegrate them in the process of qualification for the Olympic Games in 2026."
The International Olympic Committee, on the other hand, is aiming to create a path for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.