A source very close to the situation told Murphy’s Hockey Law Thursday that the International Olympic Committee “very likely” will announce December 5, a country team ban (including hockey) of Russia at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea due to Russian chemist’s diaries detailing the level of cheating at the 2014 Winter Olympics have been obtained by the IOC and reported on by the New York Times.
A country ban would entail Russia not having their flag in opening ceremonies or the national anthem after Russian born athletes win events, both of which are a treasured Olympic tradition by all participating athletes.
The fact that innocent Russian athletes would be punished under this move by the IOC has already prompted Russia to threaten a complete boycott of the games and could very well turn the hockey tournament – already without NHLers for the first time since 1994 – upside down. The Russian-based and owned Kontinental Hockey League is on record as saying they won’t allow any of their players – regardless of their country origin – to play in the Olympic hockey tournament.
The International Ice Hockey Federation told the IOC that the Russian hockey team should be able to play but they also threatened sanctions on the KHL should they not release any of their players.
According to this source, the IIHF and KHL are awaiting the final decision next Tuesday before deciding on whether to follow through on their stances but both do expect the country ban on Russia.