The Russian Hockey Federation has been fined $85,000 after its national team left the ice prematurely following its loss to Canada at the world championships in May, the IIHF announced Monday.
Russia lost the gold medal game 6–1 to Canada in Prague and left the ice before the completion of the medal ceremony. “This was exceptional as no other team has ever left the ice before the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship medal ceremony was completed,” the IIHF said.
Russia maintained “that the action was an unfortunate misunderstanding,” according to the IIHF, but the international governing body found that the players “left the ice after a short discussion between the Russian team captain (Ilya Kovalchuk) and some Russian officials and the unmistakable head gesture of the captain.”
The Russian federation said its players had interpreted the open gate at one end of the ice as a signal to depart, but the IIHF said the Russian players and coaches should be familiar with the medal ceremony procedure “because of their vast experience.”
At the time, IIHF president Rene Fasel called Russia’s actions “completely out of order.”
Russia was seeking its third world championship in five years, while Canada had not won since 2007.
- Dan Gartland