The civil unrest and fighting going on in Ukraine has now extended to affect the sports world. The unrest has been so destructive and unsafe for visitors, that the eastern city of Dontesk has decided to withdraw their right to host the 2015 IIHF Division 1 World Championship next spring.
“Unfortunately, we cannot be fully protected against that fact that the political tension in the country is an obstacle for foreign visitors and fans who want to visit the ice festival in Donetsk,” the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine’s President Anatoli Brezvin said in a statement.
“It is our priority to find together with the IIHF and our colleagues from Italy, Kazakhstan, Japan, Hungary and Poland a proper solution that will satisfy everybody – from participants to commercial partners and fans. To do so, we take the first step and declare the withdrawal of our responsibilities to organize the championship in Ukraine.”
Even if they were going to host, you wouldn’t be seeing any of the elite international players travelling to Ukraine because the Championship Division World Championship is in Czech Republic next year. This is an important tournament for the participating teams as top two teams from this division will be promoted to the Championship Division in 2016 in Russia to face the likes of Canada, United States, and Sweden.
The teams set to participate in a yet-to-be-determined location next year are Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, and Japan. The IIHF is set to meet before the the 2014 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress that will take place September 18-20. The other bid for the World Championship came from Poland, and they said they are prepared to host the tournament if they are called upon to do so. They have a brand new 15,000 seat arena in Krakow that opened this year.
Also due to the civil unrest in Ukraine, the local club that competes in the KHL suspended operations for the 2014-15 season. HC Donbass was granted a 1-year sabbatical from the league, in which all player contracts were frozen as players and coaches are permitted to sign one-year contracts with other teams in which they are required to return to HC Donbass at the end of this forthcoming season.