Russia’s participation in the upcoming Pyeongchang hockey tournament is in question, according to well-placed sources, as the International Olympic Committee continues its ongoing doping investigation into athletes from that country. Fears were raised in international hockey circles this week that a ban of all athletes from Russia could be forthcoming. Some IOC members and as many as 20 Western-based national anti-doping committees are believed to be pushing for it, according to sources. We are still awaiting the fallout from the 2016 McLaren Report, which investigated allegations and evidence of Russian state-sponsored doping and manipulation of test samples around the 2014 Sochi Games. Denis Oswald, head of the IOC’s disciplinary committee, has said that he intends to complete his investigation into the matter by the end of the month. What this means for February’s hockey tournament is unclear. A ban of all athletes from Russia would obviously preclude the country’s participation. There’s also been a suggestion that they may instead be forced to play under a neutral flag, and the Russians have indicated an unwillingness to even consider that possibility. Amid the growing uncertainty, the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League went on the offensive Saturday by suggesting that it may withdraw all of its players from the Games – a decision that would keep several Canadians, Americans, Swedes and Finns from the tournament as well as the Russians.
KHL’s participation in Olympics affects more than just Russian team
Sportsnet | Nov 5