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Jokerit confirm decision to end KHL season early

The Helsinki club has played in the Russian league since 2014.

Anders Lindbäck torjui Jokerien maalilla.
Goaltender Anders Lindbäck at the Jokerit goal. Image: Mikko Taipale / Jokerit
Yle News

Finnish ice hockey team Jokerit have confirmed they intend to end their participation in this season's Russian-dominated Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Finnish TV channel MTV had previously reported on Thursday that Jokerit will not complete this season in the KHL league.

In a statement released on Friday morning, Jokerit said it would be impossible to continue the season under the current circumstances.

"The world is going through really difficult times right now. All our thoughts are with the people suffering from the situation. We hope that a peaceful solution will be found soon," Jokerit's main owner, Jari Kurri, wrote in the press release. Former NHL star Kurri is also the club's general manager.

Jokerit had been due to play Spartak Moscow in the first round of the playoffs, with the first match scheduled for 1 March in Helsinki.

The club has also lost at least one sponsor after the Russian invasion. Barona, a staffing and services company, said it was ending the deal because of the conflict. They will no longer supply staff for Jokerit home games and have ended their marketing agreements with the club.

"We don't want to be supporting Jokerit's operations in playing in Russia's KHL league," aid Barona CEO Lassi Määttä in a statement. "This is also a statement about the situation in Ukraine and Russia's military action there."

The club's operations are mostly funded by Norilsk Nickel, whose owner is Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin.

4.9: Corrected Jari Kurri's name.

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