The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has fined the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia 80,000 Swiss Francs (apx. $85,358 USD) for their snub of Team Canada at the end of the 2015 IIHF World Championship gold medal game.
Canada won gold at the World Championship with a roster that included Sidney Crosby, Tyler Seguin, Claude Giroux, Jason Spezza, Matt Duchene and others, building a team that was far and away the best at this year’s Worlds.
After defeating Russia 6-1 in the gold medal game, Russia accepted their medals, watch Canada get theirs and then left the ice before Canada lined up to hear “O, Canada” played as the IIHF raised the flags of three medal-wining countries. (The U.S. took home the Bronze Medal.)
At the time of the incident, IIHF President Rene Fasel was apoplectic, telling reporters, “The IIHF has its own protocol and some sort of punishment will be handed down… When I saw what had happened, I was very upset. In the 29 world championships that I have had the honor of attending, this is the first time I have seen something like this… What the Russian team did was completely out of order.”
The release on the decision from the IIHF indicates that their frustration has not ebbed.:
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 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.
In a hearing, Russian GM Andrei Safronov tried to explain to the IIHF Disciplinary Board that it was all “an unfortunate misunderstanding.” The IIHF ruling didn’t see it that way, saying, “The panel is of the opinion that the occurrences on the ice show that this is not a result of an unfortunate misunderstanding.”
TSN’s Darren Dreger, who was in the Czech Republic covering the tournament, reported at that time that Alex Ovechkin tried to keep his teammates on the ice. Meanwhile, Russian hockey writer Slava Malamud reported that eye-witness reports said that the player in the tunnel urging teammates into the locker room was former NHLer Ilya Kovalchuk.
Here’s video of the Russian team leaving during the ceremony.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.