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‘Red Machine’ forward Ilya Kovalchuk to skip 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark

April 16, 21:02 UTC+3 KAZAN

Kovalchuk plays as the forward for SKA club of the Russia-based Continental Ice Hockey League (KHL) and is the gold medal winner of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

KAZAN, April 16. /TASS/. Russia’s famous ice hockey forward Ilya Kovalchuk will not be on the national squad’s roster for the 2018 IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championship in Denmark next month, the press service of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation (RIHF) announced to TASS on Monday.

Kovalchuk, 35, plays as the forward for SKA club of the Russia-based Continental Ice Hockey League (KHL) and is the gold medal winner of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang.

"Forward Ilya Kovalchuk will be unable to participate in the World Championship in Denmark," the RIHF said in a statement for TASS. "This was a mutual decision of the ice hockey player and the coaching staff of the national team in regard to a very intensive participation of the player in the KHL tournament and the (2018) Olympic Games."

Kovalchuk’s absence on the national team’s roster for the upcoming world championship comes in the wake of RIHF President Vladislav Tretiak last week’s statement that Russian national ice hockey team’s Head Coach Oleg Znarok, who led his country’s team this year to the first Olympic gold in 26 years, had temporarily stepped down.

Ilya Vorobyov was appointed the acting head coach of the team for the 2018 IIHF World Championship, set for May 4-20 in Denmark’s Copenhagen and Herning. Znarok will stay with the team for the championship, but in the capacity of a consultant.

Znarok, 55, took over the Russian national ice hockey team as the head coach after the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi with the main goal to win the gold of the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang and this is what the team of Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) exactly did in February.

Besides the 2018 Olympic gold, Znarok led the so-called Red Machine to four IIHF World Championships medals, namely gold in 2014, silver in 2015 and bronze in 2016 and 2017.

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