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Jokerit pulls out of KHL’s Gagarin Cup playoffs

KHL Playoffs

MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 21, 2020: HC Jokerit Helsinki’s players celebrate victory in a 2019/20 Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) Regular Season ice hockey match against HC Avangard Omsk at Yuri Lyapkin Balashikha Arena. Alexander Shcherbak/TASS (Photo by Alexander ShcherbakTASS via Getty Images)

Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

While sports in North America have been brought to a halt, the KHL Gagain Cup playoffs are still going on and getting ready to start their second round this upcoming week.

One team scheduled to play in that round has already voluntarily pulled out of the playoffs.

Jokerit, a team based out of Helsinki, Finland, announced on Saturday that it is removing itself from the postseason due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The team was set to begin its second round series against SKA Saint Petersburg on Tuesday, March 17.

Jokerit had just defeated Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in its first round series in six games. As of now, that leaves CSKA Moscow, Dinamo Minsk, SKA Saint Petersburg, Sibir Novosibirsk, Barys Astana, Salavat Yulaev Ufa, and Ak Bars Kazan as the remaining teams in the playoffs. For now.

UPDATE: Here’s the statement the KHL released on Sunday:

In relation to the developing global situation concerning the coronavirus pandemic, KHL announces the following:

The coronavirus epidemic has significantly affected the world of sports, forcing many countries, federations and sports leagues around the world to cancel or postpone major competitions.

KHL, as a major international sports league is acutely aware of its responsibility to fans, teams and staff, and is closely monitoring the situation as it develops and will strictly comply with instructions from state authorities in all participating countries of the championship, when it comes to protecting public health.

The Covid 19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation, and in this regard KHL is in consultation with clubs and all relevant authorities to diligently manage the impact of this matter.

Any formal decisions that affect the league will be published on KHL’s official website, as and when concluded.
The League urges its fans and interested parties to be guided only by official information posted on League & club platforms.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.