The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) announced Wednesday that Russian and Belarusian players will be ineligible for the 2022 CHL Import Draft amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
TSN’s Darren Dreger notes that this won’t affect players that are already on a CHL team’s protected list. The 2022 CHL Import Draft will take place on July 1.
The CHL released a statement on the decision:
“The Canadian Hockey League remains committed to the safety, well-being, and the development of all of its players regardless of their country of origin,” the statement reads.
The mandate is likely to affect at least 20% of players, as in the 2021 CHL Import Draft, 16 Russian and 11 Belarusian players were selected out of 120.
The CHL’s decision to exclude Russian and Belarusian players is similar to the edict that came down from Wimbledon last week. Tennis’ signature Grand Slam is prohibiting Russian and Belarusian players from participating in this year’s event, meaning that the world’s No. 2 men’s singles player Daniil Medvedev will miss out.
16-time Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King has since spoken out against the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) for its decision.
“The decision of the LTA and the AELTC regarding the Russian and Belarusian players at this year’s tournament was a difficult and complex undertaking, and I appreciate the challenges and pressures they are facing,” King said. “One of the guiding principles of the founding of the WTA was that any girl in the world, if she was good enough, would have a place to compete. I stood by that in 1973 and I stand by that today.
“I cannot support the banning of individual athletes from any tournament, simply because of their nationality. Tennis is strong when we stand together, and our continued support of the Tennis Plays for Peace initiative, which provides meaningful financial support and resources to Ukraine, needs to be our focus.”
The CHL previously canceled the 2022 Canada-Russia series back on March 2, and said then that they condemned the actions from Russia.
“The Canadian Hockey League strongly condemns the recent actions by Russia involving military force in Ukraine and encourages a peaceful resolution to the conflict,” the league said.
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