Russia removed as host of 2023 worlds in men's ice hockey

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Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) skates to the bench after he was injured during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

ZURICH – Russia was removed Tuesday as host of the 2023 world championship in men’s ice hockey that was to be played in Vladimir Putin’s home city St. Petersburg.

Citing “concern for the safety and well-being of all participating players, officials, media, and fans,” the International Ice Hockey Federation announced the decision after its ruling council met.

The latest blow to Russia in its favored winter sports follows one day after its signature annual international figure skating competition was pulled by the International Skating Union in the fallout from the country's war on Ukraine.

The IIHF said its officials “expressed significant concerns over the safe freedom of movement of players and officials to, from, and within Russia.”

Similar reasons were given last month for stripping the 2023 world juniors event from Russia. That championship was to be played in Omsk and Novosibirsk.

Russia had committed to build a new 23,000-seat arena for the men’s worlds that was scheduled for May 2023.

A new host will be picked during the men’s world championships which starts next month in Finland, the governing body said.

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