The Russian national team has been hit with an CHF 80,000 fine — roughly $85,000 USD — as the result of their actions following the gold medal game at May’s World Championships in Czech Republic.
During the post-game ceremony, the Russian team, including staff and players, left the ice before the Canadian national anthem had been played and the flags of the three medalling countries were raised in celebration. Following the incident, IIHF president Rene Fasel told Russian news outlet TASS he was, “deeply disappointed,” and that it was the first time he had seen such actions at a World Championship.
Following the incident, Andrei Safronov, Team Russia’s GM, was apologetic about the incident, saying it wasn’t the fault of anyone but the team.
"We are feeling very ashamed and uncomfortable now, and on the behalf of the national team I bow to the Canadians," Safronov told TASS. "I am lost for words and can say only that there was nothing of a premeditated nature in the incident.”
The IIHF said they would be looking into the incident, with communications manager Adam Steiss stating the IIHF was, “collecting and reviewing footage of the post-game ceremony.” Monday, more than three months after the incident took place, the discipline was handed down.
“Supported by video footage of the ceremony, the Deciding Panel of the IIHF Disciplinary Board ascertained that the Russian team captain had discussions with team staff members, after which he talked to his teammates, at the same time moving his head towards the open gate; the gate had been open since the start of the ceremony,” the IIHF said in a statement. “The majority of the players and the staff members left the ice immediately following the Canadian Players receiving their medals while a few players remained, eventually leaving the ice themselves a little later.
“The remainder of the medal ceremony took place in absence of the Russian national team and its staff. This was exceptional as no other team has ever left the ice before the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship medal ceremony was completed.”
According to the IIHF, a formal hearing took place with Safronov this past Friday, at which time he said the incident was a misunderstanding. Safronov said the, “open gate was interpreted according to existing practices as a signal for the players to leave the ice.”
The IIHF panel stated that the open gate, however, was irrelevant, as the Russian staff and players should have been aware of the protocol for a closing ceremony. In a statement, the IIHF also added the panel is, “of the opinion that the occurrences on the ice show that this is not a result of an unfortunate misunderstanding.”
The Russian Ice Hockey Federation will have seven days to appeal the IIHF decision.