Jokerit won’t play in KHL playoffs

Jokerit won’t play in KHL playoffs

Davide Tuniz25 Feb 2022Davide Tuniz»

Club from Helsinki made the decision after pressures by fans and sponsors. KHL says it is sorry for the decision


"Jari Kurri, the chairman of Jokerit has made a decision to suspend the club's KHL season 2021-22. In the current global situation, it would have been impossible to continue the season.", with this short statement, Jokerit Helsinki announced the club won't play in Gagarin Cup, the KHL post-season, where should have faced Spartak Moscow in the first round of the playoffs next March 1st.

The decision came after yesterday, following the situation in Ukraine, the fans had asked the club to stop playing in the KHL and one of the major sponsors, the Barona company, had withdrawn its patronage, claiming the company" do not want to be involved in supporting the activities of the Jokerit, who play in the Russian KHL League."

Jari Kurri told Finnish newspaper Iltalehti: "My own position on the end of the season was clear right on Thursday morning.However, in accordance with KHL policies, I had to have discussions with the league.That is why we are unfortunately only able to report this now" Kurri says. "The world is going through really difficult times right now.All our thoughts are with the people who are suffering from the situation.We hope that a peaceful solution to the situation will be found soon, Kurri continues.

After the decision, KHL President Alexei Morozov commented: "We are very sorry to lose Jokerit - a strong and vibrant team with a recognizable style. Jokerit has been playing with us since the 2014/2015 season and always qualifies to the playoffs. Fighting with all teams in the League have always been interesting. It is very unpleasant that Jokerit's departure is not due to sporting reasons, but to political ones"

The KHL will make a decision on the first round of the Western Conference Gagarin Cup playoff. Very likely Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod will replace the Finnish team

Very harsh the reaction of two-time Olympic champion Alexander Kozhevnikov, who told to hockey portal russia-hockey about the withdraw of Jokeirt and the possible one of Latvian Dinamo Riga: “I don’t understand at all why the press pays so much attention to Jokerit and Dinamo Riga. Riga, which has been dragging the KHL Western Conference to the bottom in recent years, is not a loss for us at all. Yes, unlike Dynamo, Jokerit have their own hockey face, but at the same time, Jokerit is too capricious and likes to play near-political games. I think that thanks to the KHL, Jokerit has progressed, and the Finnish team, assembled on its basis, took the Olympics from us last week. So why not take its place for those Russian clubs that educate young players and are also ready for development? Maybe then we will regain the title of Olympic champions in Milan 2026? Who exactly will I suggest as a replacement? I have already noted Ugra, which won both the regular season and the playoffs last season in the VHL. I think it's time for the KHL to open its doors to clubs like Yugra."

Meanwhile, today the Finnish Hockey Association announced that it would take the lion shirts and championship pennants off the roof of the Russian-owned Hartwall Arena to show support for Ukraine.The Jokers play their home game at Hartwall Arena.

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