IIHF meets to review Olympic eligibility for Chinese athletes

IIHF meets to review Olympic eligibility for Chinese athletes

The International Ice Hockey Federation Council made a call on Friday to review the Olympic eligibility of Chinese men’s national team players, although no decisions have been made on the status of the host country for the upcoming tournament in Beijing,

Officials are set to review information from the China Ice Hockey Federation about the players on the list of potential players for the host country. Another meeting is scheduled for December 6.

Several players in the Chinese national team are North Americans who have moved to play for a Chinese-owned team in the Continental Hockey League in an effort to naturalize and gain Olympic eligibility. But the forced move of Kunlun Red Star KHL out of China and into Moscow adds a layer of uncertainty over whether players meet the eligibility criterion.

Kunlun played two so-called test matches against KHL opponents in mid-November with IIHF officials watching closely to determine their level of competitiveness. The players’ performance in a 5-4 overtime loss and 4-1 defeat appeared to be enough to satisfy concerns about how they would handle the NHL competition in Beijing, making eligibility the only remaining hurdle for China in the Olympics.

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In other possible Olympic news, Canada has appointed Claude Julien as coach for two upcoming international tournaments in December: the Channel One Cup and the Spengler Cup. Former Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan has been named general manager, with Bruce Boudreaux and Scott Walker as assistants to Julian.

The staff of Channel One and the Spengler Cup are important because they will take over the Olympic roles if the NHL and NHL Players’ Association withdraw before the January 10 deadline.

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