Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney has signed a letter asking the Kontinental Hockey League to allow its players to participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics, the organization confirmed to CBC Sports.
The letter, reportedly sent together with “some European hockey associations,” comes a day after reports that the State Duma is assisting the KHL in preparing a bill to allow the league to withhold its domestic and foreign-born players from playing at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Renney confirmed to Russian hockey reporter Igor Eronko that he was a signee to the letter, a representative from the organization told CBC Sports.
Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic’s hockey federations also signed the letter to the KHL, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
If the KHL decides to prevent its players from competing in the Olympics, it would deal another major blow to countries like Canada who already have to form teams without NHL players. Sixteen members of Canada’s 25-man-roster at the recent Karjala Cup in Finland play in the KHL, including goalie Ben Scrivens and forwards Wojtek Wolski and Teddy Purcell.
But International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel told Russian news agency TASS on Monday that the league cannot prevent its players from playing at the Games.
“KHL, being a member of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, has to follow the statutes and bylaws of the IIHF and they have to release foreign players and the national team players from other countries to play in the Olympics,” Fasel said.