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IIHF suspends Russia and Belarus and appoints new rivals for Ukraine in the 2026 IIHF Hockey Qualifiers

Oleksandr ChekanovNews
Ukrainians will compete for a ticket to the Olympics

The Belarusian national ice hockey team will not be a rival of the Ukrainian team in the decisive phase of the qualifying stage for the 2026 Olympic Games. "The Blue and Yellows will play at the tournament in Latvia from August 29 to September 1 this year, where the winner of the ticket to the main start of the quadrennial will be determined.

This became known after the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) suspended Belarus and Russia from the 2024/2025 season, according to the organization's official website. This means that both teams will miss the World Championship in May, and the team from Belarus will miss the Olympic qualifiers.

IIHF suspends Russia and Belarus and appoints new rivals for Ukraine in the 2026 IIHF Hockey Qualifiers
Olympic rings.

After that, the IIHF also decided to revise the lineup for the decisive stage of the Games qualification. Initially, the Ukrainians were to play in Slovakia against local hockey players, representatives of Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Now, however, Dmytro Khrystych's team will play against the Latvians, French and Slovenians for a ticket to Italy. The winner of the tournament will go to the Olympics.

IIHF suspends Russia and Belarus and appoints new rivals for Ukraine in the 2026 IIHF Hockey Qualifiers
IIHF suspends Russia and Belarus and appoints new rivals for Ukraine in the 2026 IIHF Hockey Qualifiers

It is also not yet known whether the Russian national team will be allowed to participate in the Games. If Russia is banned, its place will probably be taken by one of the best teams that will take second place in the qualifying groups.

As OBOZ.UA previously reported, the Ukrainian national hockey team sang the national anthem powerfully after a sensational victory over Poland in the third round of the second stage of qualification for the 2026 Olympics.

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