The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has suspended five members of Sweden’s national junior hockey team along with their coach for removing their silver medals during the closing ceremony of January’s tournament, NBC Sports reported.
Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (the projected No. 1 pick in the NHL draft in June) was suspended from playing the first two games of the Under-18 world championship next year, and captain Lias Andersson, (selected seventh overall in the 2017 NHL draft by the New York Rangers) was issued a four-game ban from next year’s world juniors. Andersson, who threw his medal into the stands after the 3-1 loss to Canada, said he did it out of frustration. Head coach Tomas Monten was given a three-game ban from next year’s world juniors for putting the silver medal into his pocket during the ceremony.
IIHF officials say the actions violate federation rules requiring players and team officials to wear medals around their necks during the closing ceremony.
“Taking off the silver medals presented to the members of the team shows not only disrespect against the spectators and the organizers of the championship, but also disrespect against their opponents and winners of the championship,” the IIHF said in a statement. “This behavior has to be considered as highly unsportsmanlike and it is not compatible with the idea of sport as a fair competition. The actions in question cannot be excused by disappointment or even frustration not to have won the championship. Losing a game does not excuse any unfair and unsportsmanlike behavior.”