National Hockey League Suspending Ties With Russian Business Partners

The National Hockey League said Monday that it is suspending relationships with its Russian business partners, ruling out Russia for locations of future games and events and temporarily pausing content on its Russian language social media.

"The National Hockey League condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine and urges a peaceful resolution as quickly as possible," the NHL statement reads. "Effective immediately, we are suspending our relationships with our business partners in Russia and we are pausing our Russian language social and digital media sites. In addition, we are discontinuing any consideration of Russia as a location for any future competitions involving the NHL."

Several Russian and Ukrainian athletes across the globe have spoken out condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine and asking for an end to the war, while several international sports organizations including FIFA and UEFA, which issued their own Monday announcement, have banned Russian national and club teams from international competitions until further notice.

The NHL suspension includes removing games broadcast on Russia-based Yandex, as well as a hold on the league's partnership with Russian betting partner Liga Stavok, an NHL spokesperson told Newsweek.

"We also remain concerned about the well-being of the players from Russia, who play in the NHL on behalf of their NHL clubs, and not on behalf of Russia. We understand they and their families are being placed in an extremely difficult position," the NHL added in its statement.

Hockey data website QuantHockey shows that 50 of the 55 active NHL players listed as being born in Russia have appeared in at least one game so far this season.

The Russian language NHL Twitter account has just over 7,000 followers and tweets several times per day, nearly mirroring the content from the NHL feed translated to Russian, while the only link on display on the Russian version of the NHL website is a link to Monday's statement.

In a separate release on Monday, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced the indefinite suspension of Russian and Belarusian teams of all age ranges from IIHF competitions.

Russia will also no longer be allowed to host the 2023 IIHF Junior World Championship, which is set to take place from December 26 through January 5, 2023, and the IIHF said discussions will be held over the next several months to determine a new location for the event.

"The IIHF is not a political entity and cannot influence the decisions being taken over the war in Ukraine," said IIHF President Luc Tardif. "We nevertheless have a duty of care to all of our members and participants and must therefore do all we can to ensure that we are able to operate our events in a safe environment for all teams taking part in the IIHF World Championship program."

Update 2/28/22 5:15 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information and context.

National Hockey League Russia Ukraine
The NHL announced a temporary suspension of its business partnerships in Russia due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Above, a general view of the NHL logo prior to the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition at the Nationwide Arena on January 24, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images