Slovakia denies plans of playing games against Russia

Finland’s Jani Nyman, right, and Slovakia’s Juraj Pekarčík, left, challenge for the puck during the in IIHF World Junior Championship ice hockey quarter final match between Slovakia and Finland at Froelundaborg in Gothenburg, Sweden, on January 2, 2024.

Source: The Slovakia Spectator

The Russian ice-hockey website Allhockey.ru wrote on Wednesday that the Slovak national hockey team wants to play a preliminary game, or more, against Russia ahead of the 2024 world championship.

The website didn’t say where this report came from. Instead, it went on to say that Russian Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretiak supported the idea of ​​Slovakia playing against Russia. He himself had no information about Slovakia’s interest in preliminary games against Russia.

“Is it true the Slovak Hockey Federation wants to see matches between the national teams of Slovakia and Russia?” he asked. “We’ll be happy to host any federation that wants to play with the Russian national team.”

On the same day, Slovakia’s hockey federation denied the information and called it fake news that ‘shocked’ the body.

On the same day, Slovakia’s hockey federation denied the information and called it fake news that ‘shocked’ the body.

We have not held any talks with the Russian Hockey Federation, nor do we have any plans to play preliminary games against the Russian hockey team,” the Slovak federation said in its statement.

Slovakia will play eight preliminary games. None of the games will be against Russia.

Banned Russians

The fake news about the Russia-Slovakia preliminary games also surprised former Russian ice-hockey legend Vyacheslav Fetisov.

“If the Slovak national team plays against us, they will also be suspended,” he told the Russian website.

Russian teams are not allowed to participate in the international hockey federation’s events due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Moreover, in November 2022, the International Ice-Hockey Federation sanctioned the Russian Ice Hockey Federation with a reprimand for violating the ethics code, after it failed to prevent signs showing support for promoting the war in Ukraine from appearing in arenas.

Slovakia as “unfriendly country”

Other former Russian players also welcomed the news about Slovakia’s reported interest in the games against Russia.

“I think they understand and realise the quality of our team and want to test their players against strong opponents! For them this is a good test. And for us it’s practice,” said the former coach of Russia’s national team, Vyacheslav Bykov.

But on Wednesday evening, the Russian Hockey Federation said that there would ‘definitely be no matches this season’. It added that ‘the dialogue will continue next season.’

Following the statement, Russian hockey coach Andrei Nazarov said about Slovakia’s refusal to play Russia that ‘Slovakia is now an unfriendly country for us.’

This year, the world championship will take place in the Czech Republic.

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