Already with the NHL not participating in the Olympics, a new report has surfaced today from NHL.com’s Igor Eronko that the Russian parliament is preparing a bill for the KHL that would allow the league to forbid its players to participate in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. That would also include players in the league from other countries as well, suggesting that Russia doesn’t want any national team to use KHL players.
That could put a damper on any hopes of Canada and the United States from putting together competitive teams as both squads were expected to dip into the KHL for players on their respective teams. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that this new development could get sticky as both the United States and Canada teams believe that U.S./Canada players in the KHL are there on IIHF transfers and the IIHF has sanctioned Olympic participation.
The news comes on the heel of news that International Olympic Committee will decide on Dec. 5 whether Russia will be allowed to compete in the Pyeongchang Winter Games due to state-backed doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
If this bill goes through, it could also start an uproar from former NHL players like Andrei Markov, who went overseas with the intention of playing in the Olympics. With the NHL already having decided long ago they will not participate in next year’s Olympic Games, Russia was considered to be the favorite since they would have the best players outside of the NHL. Perhaps not.