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First European team to withdraw from the KHL

Published March 22, 2022 at 2:23 PM
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The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has a lot of repercussions in the sports world. Few people want to be associated with the Russians. Some people even leave the country or decide to stop their association with Russia.

A few weeks ago, the Finnish team Jokerit announced that the organization would not participate in the KHL playoffs despite qualifying. As reported by Markerzone, the organization has now reportedly made a decision regarding their return to the KHL next season. According to reports out of Finland, the Jokerit will announce that they are retiring from the KHL for good.

The most likely plan of action, according to reports, is to return to the Finnish Elite League (SM-Liiga), where the team has won six championships over the years, most recently in 2002.

Jokerit's decision to withdraw from the playoffs was based on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Finland borders Russia and has long feared that it would have to deal with a possible invasion itself. The two countries have had conflicts in the past and Finland's mandatory military service for citizens is based on past threats from Russia.


To date, 60% of the team is owned by former NHL player Jari Kurri. The other 40% of the team is owned by Norilsk Nickel, a Russian mining company based in Moscow. It will be interesting to see if the company will pull out of the team. Also, the Jokerit's amphitheater, Hartwall Arena, is wholly owned by Russian interests and it is very likely that the team will play on a different ice in 2022-23.
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