Major news in the junior hockey world.
On Wednesday, the CHL made the monumental announcement that all Russian and Belarusian players will be ineligible for the league's upcoming import draft on July 1, handing down yet another blow to the future of Russian hockey after the nation's invasion of Ukraine that began in February.
This change in eligibility will reportedly not impact players already on teams' protected lists. However, there is no word as to whether the ban will extend beyond this year's draft, either.
"The Canadian Hockey League remains committed to the safety, well-being, and the development of all of its players regardless of their country of origin," the CHL said in a statement.
This decision will keep the entirety of Russia and Belarus' top amateur players in their home countries as they begin their crucial journey towards the professional level, possibly stunting their development due to the shallow pool of talent they will be playing against.
Russia is effectively cut off from the rest of the hockey world until further notice following today's announcement. The IIHF has already banned the Russian Ice Hockey Federation from participating in international play for the foreseeable future, stripping Russia of its hosting duties for the 2023 World Championship and World Junior Championship, as well.
With both the amateur and professional ranks handcuffed by these sanctions, the immediate future of Russian hockey is in serious jeopardy. At the moment, there appears to be no end in sight for Russia's exclusion from the hockey world.