We play hockey, they say. Which Slovaks play in the KHL and will they be missed?

Slovak players in the KHL will not attend the 2023 World Championship.

Slovak national hockey team will be without the KHL players at this year's World Championship.Slovak national hockey team will be without the KHL players at this year's World Championship. (Source: Sliacky)

In an agreement with the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation (SZĽH), Slovak hockey players in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) have decided not to participate in the upcoming world championships in Finland and Latvia.

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The decision came just a few days after the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Council extended the suspension of the Russian and Belarusian national teams until at least the 2025 World Championship.

After the invasion of Ukraine by the troops of the Russian Federation in February of last year, the ice hockey associations of Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, Latvia and France decided to not include players from the KHL in their team rosters.

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The reason was that Russia to this day continues to use the league as an ideological tool. After the invasion of Ukraine, for example, the KHL clubs had to support the "special military operation".

The Slovak Ice Hockey Federation explained the decision to relieve the team from public pressure.

In the current season, nine Slovaks are playing in the KHL. Samuel Buček, who started the season in Nizhnekamsk is already active in the Czech club of Třinec, leaving the KHL due to unsatisfactory performance.

What was the season like for other players? Why did they decide to play in Russia, and continue to do so even after the outbreak of war?

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