The International Ice Hockey Federation is considering cutting the Chinese men’s hockey team from the 2022 Beijing Olympics, according to a report from The New York Times. If China gets up being removed from the Games, it would mark the first time an Olympic host has been removed from the hockey tournament.
IIHF president Luc Tardif stated last month that it’s possible that the Chinese team could be removed from the men’s hockey tournament due to “insufficient sporting standard.”
“This question really arises for the men’s team, not for the women’s team,” Tardif told Agence France-Presse. “There are going to be games for the China team that will be overseen by an IIHF official and a decision will be made afterwards. Watching a team being beaten 15-0 is not good for anyone, not for China, or for ice hockey.”
If China gets replaced, 11th-ranked Norway would likely take their spot in the tournament.
The Chinese team is traditionally comprised of players from the Beijing-based Kunlun Red Star team, which plays in the Kontinental Hockey League, largely made up of teams in Russia. The IIHF currently has China ranked as the 32nd best team in the world and would face the likes of Canada and the United States in the opening round of the Olympic tournament.
The Red Star has won just five out of their 22 games this season and is currently in last place in the league. In those 22 games, the Red Star has surrendered 81 goals while only scoring 48 in the KHL.
The IIHF is scheduled to hold a board meeting next week in which China’s fate is likely to be decided. The Beijing Olympics are scheduled to begin on Feb. 4.