The National Hockey League (NHL) has suspended its dealings with Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) following the country’s attack on Ukraine.

In a move that will make it more difficult for teams to sign players from the area, Daily Faceoff reported that the league told its teams to ‘immediately cease all dealings with the KHL and KHL clubs, as well as with player agents who are based in and continue to do business in Russia’. 

Deputy Commissioner of the NHL, Bill Daly, has since confirmed the announcement in an email to The Associated Press.

Last week, the NHL announced its intent to suspend collaborations in Russia and pause Russian-language social and digital media sites, which includes terminating the NHL’s Russian broadcast agreement.

Currently in the NHL, there are around 40 Russia-born players currently as the league continues its playoff period. It is unclear if the suspension will have any implications on the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft.

Some key Russian players in the league include Washington Capitals winger, Alex Ovechkin, Pittsburgh Penguins centre, Evgeni Malkin and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin.

Furthermore, Daily Faceoff stated that to sign a player from the KHL, an NHL side must now confirm with Central Registry whether they are on an expiring contract and create an “independent written evidence demonstrating that the player is entirely free of any and all potentially conflicting contractual obligations for 2022-23 and beyond.”

The NHL also recently announced that it was immediately suspending relationships with its business partners in Russia, and is ‘discontinuing any consideration’ of the country as a potential host for future events.

In a statement, the league explained that it is now “concerned about the well-being of the players from Russia. The National Hockey League condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and urges a peaceful resolution as quickly as possible.”

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