Oilers legend Jari Kurri pulls team from KHL playoffs amidst war in Ukraine

Feb 26 2022, 11:35 pm

Jari Kurri pulls Jokerit out of KHL playoffs amidst Russia’s Ukraine invasion

Finnish-based Kontinental Hockey League club Jokerit has decided to suspend its season in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, team owner and general manager Jarri Kurri has announced.

Russia invaded Ukraine early Thursday.

Jokerit, the No. 2 seed in the KHL’s West Conference and was fourth overall in points, will forfeit its first round series against Spartak Moscow. Postseason play was scheduled to open on March 1 in Finland. 

“My position on the end of the season was clear right on Thursday morning,” team owner and general manager Jari Kurri said in a statement on Friday, according Google Translate. “However, in accordance with KHL policies, I had to have discussions with the league. That is why we are unfortunately only able to report this now.

“The world is going through really difficult times right now. All our thoughts are with the people suffering from the situation. We hope that a peaceful solution to the situation can be found soon.”

Kurri played 1,251 games over 17 seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and Colorado Avalanche. He won five Stanley Cup championships with the Oilers from 1984-1990. 

All hockey was suspended in Ukraine because of the invasion.

“The competitions of the 2021/22 season have been suspended due to the introduction of martial law on the territory of Ukraine. Thus, in order to ensure safety, matches of the regular championship of the Hockey Superleague Parimatch will not take place,” a statement from the Ukrainian Hockey League read, according to Google translate.

“We urge you to remain calm and not panic.”

The International Olympic Committee has also called for all sporting events in Russia and Belarus to be cancelled or moved, saying it has a “strong condemnation of the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian government and the government of Belarus through its support in this.”

The Olympic Truce began seven days prior to the start of the Olympic Games on February 4, and ends seven days after the closing of the Paralympic Games in March.

The International Ice Hockey Federation will review two upcoming tournaments that Russia was set to host on February 28. The 2023 IIHF Men’s World Championship is scheduled for St. Petersburg and 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in Novosibirsk and Omsk. 

Formula One racing has announced the Russia Grand Prix, scheduled for Saint Petersburg from September 23-25, will not be held this year. UEFA announced Thursday that it has stripped Russia of its hosting duties for the upcoming Champions League Final, which was set for Sochi on May 28. 

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

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