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Russian ice hockey coach faces penalties over team’s walkout on Canada anthem

June 03, 2015, 14:46 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Following the defeat in the final match of the 2015 Ice Hockey World Championship on May 17 the majority of the Russian team left the ice before the national anthem of Canada was played
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Russian ice hockey Head Coach Oleg Znarok

Russian ice hockey Head Coach Oleg Znarok

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. Russian ice hockey Head Coach Oleg Znarok and national squad’s General Manager Andrey Safronov will be subjected to penalties for the Russian team’s walkout on the Canadian anthem following the final match of the 2015 IIHF World Championship, Arkady Rotenberg, a coordinator of the national team, told TASS on Wednesday.

In the final match of the 2015 Ice Hockey World Championship on May 17 in the Czech capital of Prague, reigning world champions Russia were crushed 1-6 by the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Champions Canada. Following the defeat the majority of the Russian team left the ice before the national anthem of Canada was played to honor the new world champions.

"This incident was not about the boys wanting to offend the Canadian team and it was not planned in advance. This incident was slovenliness," Rotenberg, who is also the president of Russia’s Dinamo Moscow KHL club, said in an interview with TASS.

"We will definitely resort to sanctions and impose penalties, first of all, in regard to the general manager and the head coach," Rotenberg said. "They should have remained on the ice until all anthems were played."

"We will first see what sort of penalties the International Ice Hockey Federation [IIHF] will impose. Proceeding from their penalties we will see what we will do. Both Safronov and Znarok are aware of their blunder."

"We must learn our lesson," he added. "I believe it was the first and the last time such thing happened."

IIHF President Rene Fasel said the next day after the incident that the Russian Ice Hockey Federation will be subjected to penalties for the disrespect displayed by the country’s national team in regard to the Canadian squad.

The incident also took place before the organizers raised the national flags of Canada, Russia and the United States, who were the gold, silver and bronze winners of the championship respectively, and the Canadian anthem was played.

In an interview with TASS, Fasel said he was deeply disappointed, when he witnessed the incident, and it was the first one of such nature over 29 years of ice hockey world championship matches he attended.

Among the Russian players, who remained on the ice and did not walk away were Alexander Ovechkin, Yevgeny Malkin, Viktor Tikhonov and Dmitry Kulikov.

Russia vs. Canada clash

The 2010 and 2014 Olympic Champions Canada were hungry for the world champion’s title, which they last held in 2007, and barraged into the final match against the reigning world champions Russia in a crushing winning spree boasting a record of 60-15 (goals scored and goals missed).

The final match at the O2 Arena in Prague between the long-time rivals Canada in Russia opened with a very emotionally tight period as both teams tested each other on the level of skills and nerves.

The Canadians, however, were more active in Russia’s zone and it eventually earned them 1-0 advantage over the reigning world champs as Cody Eakin put the puck into the net behind Russian goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky with less than two minutes remaining in the opening period.

It was the middle period, when the Canadians increased their advantage to 4-0 by scoring three more goals as they peppered Bobrovsky with shots, while the Russians attempted only one shot at Canadian goalkeeper Mike Smith throughout the period’s 20 minutes.

Assisted by Cody Eakin, Canada’s forward Tyler Ennis cannoned the puck into the Russian net less than two minutes into the second period. Five minutes later Crosby scored another goal against the Red Machine and almost 50 seconds later Tyler Seguin’s fired puck found its way once again past Bobrovsky.

As the teams resumed the game in the third period, it was Crosby in the right place again to assist Claude Giroux, who scored the fifth goal for the Maple Leafs on the 49th minute of the match. Less than a minute later, his teammate Nathan Mackinnon cemented the lead over the Russians notching up the score to 6-0.

Canada’s defense in the knock-out stage of this championship was spotless as the team never missed a goal creaming Belarus 9-0 in the quarterfinals and hosts Czech Republic 2-0 in the semifinals. The Russian team, however, blocked the Canadian’s shootout streak scoring a goal with seven minutes remaining in the match after forward Sergei Mozyakin fired a wrist shot and his puck ricocheted from Yevgeny Malkin’s skate between Smith’s knee-pads into the net.

On the whole, the Canadians weighty 6-1 win is also proved by the statistics, which shows that the reigning Olympic champions outshot the Russian squad in the final match by the whopping 37-12 margin.

The matches of the 2016 IIHF World Championship will be held in Russia’s capital of Moscow and in the country’s second largest city of St. Petersburg between May 6 and 22.

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