After storming off the ice shortly after their World Championship Gold Medal loss to Canada, skipping the flag raising and the Canadian national anthem, the Russian national team was today fined 80,000 Swiss francs by the IIHF for the infraction.
Although the Russian team argued that the incident was a result of a “misunderstanding” rather than a deliberate snub of the Canadian anthem, video evidence was readily available to prove otherwise, showing mainly NHL-based Russian players staying behind, while the majority of the team was led off the ice by team captain Ilya Kovalchuk. The incident sparked wide controversy throughout the hockey world, over the utter lack of sportsmanship and fair play displayed by the Russian squad.
According to the IIHF, this is the first time in tournament history that both teams did not take part in the medal ceremony, and the fine was intended to reflect the very public status of the final in Prague. However, considering that the Russians initially shook hands with the Canadians and apologized to both the IIHF and Hockey Canada, the final total of the fine is the aforementioned 80,000 CHF. The Russian team has already confirmed they will not appeal the decision, and will pay the fine.
While the issue has been quickly resolved, one wonders if the issue would have been as quickly resolved if the Russians were not hosting next year’s World Championships in May, as this may be more of a goodwill gesture rather than concession of fault. Hopefully this will not result in any issues for future tournaments, and the Russians will play more gracious hosts in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.