Latvian hockey club Dinamo Riga announced on Sunday that it is withdrawing from the Kontinental Hockey League in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Dinamo has been a part of the KHL for 14 seasons since the club was revived in 2008. They were one of five teams in the 24-team league based outside of Russia when this season began.
Reaģējot uz Krievijas agresiju Ukrainā, AS Dinamo Rīga padome pieņēmusi lēmumu izstāties no visām KHL struktūrām: https://t.co/tIVSj8umom
— Dinamo Riga (@hcDINAMORIGA) February 27, 2022
“The decision to withdraw from KHL has been made, thus expressing a clear position of the club management,” chairman Juris Savickis said in the club’s statement. “In such a military and humanitarian crisis, we do not see any opportunity for cooperation with the Kontinental Hockey League.”
Finnish club Jokerit Helsinki announced only a few days prior that they would be withdrawing from the KHL playoffs for the same reasons. Jokerit’s future with the league as a whole is still to be determined. Their arena is owned by Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko.
Jokereiden puheenjohtaja Jari Kurri on tehnyt päätöksen keskeyttää seuran KHL-kausi 2021-22. Vallitsevassa maailmantilanteessa kauden jatkaminen olisi ollut mahdotonta.
— Helsingin Jokerit (@jokerithc) February 25, 2022
“The world is going through really difficult times right now. All our thoughts are with the people suffering from the situation,” chairman Jari Kurri said in a statement. “We hope that a peaceful solution to the situation can be found soon.”
Jokerit’s largest fan group “Eteläpääty” has demanded that the team leave the KHL entirely in the same fashion as Dinamo. The team has also lost several large sponsors including Barona and Hartwall, the latter holding the naming rights for the aforementioned arena.
Headline photo via @hcDINAMORIGA
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