Latvian Hockey News Report

By Didzis Rudmanis

Archive for July 2010

Dinamo Riga roster presented

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A week after the beginning of Dinamo Riga pre-season camp, the roster has been officially announced. However, not a single new player was announced.

Unlike players, who drove to Arena Riga with their cars, head coach Julius Supler arrived on a white horse and there was a reason for it – right before the end of the 2009/10 regular season Supler agreed to a dare with captain Sandis Ozolinsh. The dare was for Supler to ride a white horse around the Riga center, if the team reached Western Conference semifinals, which they eventually did, beating SKA St. Petersburg.

However, two players, which were previously listed with Dinamo Riga, were not announced during the roster presentation. For some obvious reasons, sixteen-year-old Ivars Punnenovs was not presented together with Dinamo Riga, eventhough he is currently training together with the team. The other player not presented was Russian Igor Biryukov. As there has been no official announcement regarding him, we can only guess, whether he is still with the team or not.

Meanwhile, players like Ronalds Cinks, Raimonds Vilkoits and Juris Upitis were announced during the HK Riga roster presentation, which might mean that they will not pursue their pre-season preparation together with Dinamo Riga, but, once again, no official confirmation for that.

Also, in an short interview, general manager Normunds Sejejs said that the roster is done and within the next week the latest additions to the team will be announced.

Dinamo Riga roster at the presentation:

G Chris Holt USA
G Edgars Lusins Latvia
D Janis Andersons Latvia
D Oskars Cibulskis Latvia
D Guntis Galvins Latvia
D Martins Jakovlevs Latvia
D Rodrigo Lavins Latvia
D Sandis Ozolins Latvia
D Jekabs Redlihs Latvia
D Krisjanis Redlihs Latvia
D Arvids Rekis Latvia
D Kristaps Sotnieks Latvia
F Girts Ankipans Latvia
F Kenneth Bergqvist Sweden Try-out
F Roberts Bukarts Latvia
F Lauris Darzins Latvia
F Andris Dzerins Latvia
F Mark Hartigan Canada
F Martins Karsums Latvia
F Vitaly Karamnov Russia Try-out
F Gints Meija Latvia
F Aleksandrs Nizivijs Latvia
F Eriks Ozollapa Latvia Try-out
F Sergejs Pecura Latvia Try-out
F Ainars Podzins Latvia Try-out
F Mikelis Redlihs Latvia
F Juraj Simek Switzerland Try-out
F Janis Sprukts Latvia
F Juris Stals Latvia Try-out
F Tomas Surovy Czech Rep.
F Brock Trotter USA
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Twelve players released from HK Riga camp

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The HK Riga training camp began already on very beginning of July and only now the newly-established Dinamo Riga farm club head coach Leonids Tambijevs has made the first cuts.

The released players are goalie Rihards Cimermanis, defenders Andrejs Smirnovs and Edvards Zarins, as well as forwards Rudolfs Prusis, Lauris Rancevs, Janis Berzins, Janis Zarins, Ivans Dmitrijevs, Edgars Bebris, Rinalds Rautensilds, Deniss Baskatovs and Mikus Ozols.

As of this moment the team has left with 29 players, of whom four are goaltenders. Still, most likely several players will join the team, when released from the Dinamo Riga training camp.

It has also been announced that HK Riga will play seven exhibition games before the start of the season:

  • August 7 – Metalurgs Liepaja (in Liepaja)
  • August 15 – Zubry Minsk (Dynamo Minsk MHL team) (in Minsk)
  • August 16 – Zubry Minsk (in Minsk)
  • August 20 – Yunost Minsk MHL team (in Pinki)
  • August 21 – Yunost Minsk MHL team (in Pinki)
  • August 26 – Yunost Minsk MHL team (in Minsk)
  • August 27 – Yunost Minsk MHL team (in Minsk)

Raitums likely to join Ertis Pavlodar

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Kazakh portal Ekspress K has announced that Kazakh league club Ertis Pavlodar is very close to signing Latvian goalkeeper Martins Raitums, who spent the previous season with Hull Stingrays of the Elite Ice Hockey League.

Martins has participated in four World Championships for Latvian national team and last year was the second goalie, changing Edgars Masalskis in the middle of 1-6 blowout against Canada.

During 2008/09 he played for ASK Ogre – one of the Latvian clubs in the Belarusian league, but last season he managed to join Hull Stingrays only by late January – just before the trade deadline.

Currently also several other Latvian players are in negotiations with Kazakh league clubs and might join them for the next season. According to an unexposable source, the salaries in Kazakhstan are way bigger than, for example, French Ligue Magnus.

Trotter contract with Dinamo Riga confirmed

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Dinamo Riga official homepage has announced that the 23-year-old Montreal Canadiens prospect Brock Trotter has signed a contract with the club, so rumours that Trotter is moving to the Kontinental Hockey League comes true.

Although Dinamo announcement does not state, for how many seasons the contract is signed, most realistically it is just a one-year contract.

A few days ago, when the first rumours about Trotter moving to Riga appeared, several Canadian sources estimated that the contract could be worth up to 250,000 USD, which is four times more than he made in the AHL last season (plus the significant tax differences). For a comparison, legendary Sandis Ozolinsh contract, who might be the most heavy one for Dinamo Riga, is rumoured to be worth around 840,000 USD.

23-year-old forward became a restricted free agent on July 1, but apparently did not succeed coming to an agreement with the Canadiens.

Trotter has spent several past seasons in Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. In 2009/10 he posted 77 points in 75 regular season games, adding 19 points in 19 games during the playoffs. Last season he also made two Montreal Canadiens appearances.

Dinamo Riga pre-season camp began already on July 23 with team highlights of Chris Holt, Sandis Ozolinsh, Mark Hartigan, Tomas Surovy among others on the roster. Club’s general manager Normunds Sejejs is still desperately working on finding a starting goalie.

Dinamo reached Western Conference Semifinals last season, after eliminating SKA St. Petersburg in the Quarterfinals. The club then proceeded to lose to HC MVD, which became the Western Conference champion later on.

Metalurgs Liepaja is ready to start

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It has been already some time, since the Latvian club Metalurgs Liepaja began their thirteenth pre-season camp. For the fifth time the team will play in the Belarusian league. After the current Latvian champion Dinamo Juniors Riga ceased their existence, Metalurgs will also take part in the Continental Cup.

The team is traditionally built around long-time Metalurgs veterans, such as Filimonovs, Zabotinskis, Feldmanis, Mamonovs. The team consists also of many younger players, who have learned the game of hockey in Liepaja. Besides Lithuanian Nerius Alisauskas and Russian Sergei Gubin, who have played in Liepaja for several years, this season the team also includes Lithuanian defender Arturas Katulis and two Ukrainians – Yuri Navarenko and Artem Gnidenko. All three have appeared in several Worlds Championships for their respective national teams.

Two players, who played for Metalurgs almost since the first day, Eduards Ivanovs and Juris Ozols after the previous season have decided to retire from hockey. Eduards Ivanovs already has been announced as one of the Metalurgs-2 Liepaja coaches for 2010/11.

Metalurgs Liepaja current roster:

G Dmitrijs Zabotinskis Latvia 1980
G Maris Jucers Latvia 1987
G Janis Kalnins Latvia 1991
G Nauris Grinvalds Latvia 1990
D Vents Feldmanis Latvia 1977
D Edmunds Kniksts Latvia 1982
D Renars Demiters Latvia 1986
D Nerius Alisauskas Lithuania 1991
D Glebs Rogoza Latvia 1991
D Karlis Liepins Latvia 1990
D Martins Gipters Latvia 1989
D Sergei Gubin Russia 1977
D Arturas Katulis Lithuania 1981
D Yuri Navarenko Ukraine 1979
F Valerijs Filimonovs Latvia 1979
F Vladimirs Mamonovs Latvia 1980
F Maris Gravitis Latvia 1981
F Edijs Brahmanis Latvia 1983
F Gunars Skvorcovs Latvia 1990
F Sergejs Danilovs Latvia 1989
F Vitalijs Pavlovs Latvia 1989
F Toms Zeltins Latvia 1986
F Aldis Abolins Latvia 1985
F Lauris Bajaruns Latvia 1989
F Arturs Mickevics Latvia 1991
F Edgars Brancis Latvia 1985
F Maris Dilevka Latvia 1992
F Artem Gnidenko Ukraine 1980

Sotnieks still unsure

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Latvian defender Kristaps Sotnieks, who just recently returned from Washington Capitals Development Camp and as of Monday has joined the Dinamo Riga pre-season camp in an interview for icebox.lv states that he is still unsure, where he will play next season.

“Right after the Capitals camp I did not receive any offers. Presumably, I did not manage to strike them with my play, in order to receive a contract offer. At this point I am not sure, whether I will go and play in North America. Together with the agent we decided to wait for another week. During that time we will take care of the necessary KHL permissions and begin to train with the club.”

Dinamo Riga general manager Normunds Sejejs confirmed that Sotnieks will be in the camp, but also he was unable to conclude that Sotnieks will play in the KHL next season. “At this points I have nothing to comment on. We are ready to see Sotnieks on the team, all we need to do is make him a qualification offer. Currently we are all waiting for any further updates with the Capitals.”

Written by Didzis Rudmanis

July 26, 2010 at 09:33

Supler makes the first cuts

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It has been two days, since the Dinamo Riga training camp took off, and the head coach Julius Supler has made his first cut, sending four players to the MHL club HK Riga and releasing another player completely.

The players sent down to HK Riga are defenders Eriks Sevcenko, Aleksandrs Galkins and Ricards Birzins, as well as forward Edgars Lipsbergs. Galkins played for HC Brest of Belarusian league last season, as well as for Keramin-2 Minsk of the Belarusian 2nd league, while the 21-year-old Birzins has been playing in the Dinamo system for the past two seasons already.

Supler also released 25-year-old forward Guntis Dzerins, who missed the whole previous season, because of health issues and was in the camp for a try-out. His younger brother Andris played 17 games for Dinamo last season and is expected to make the team also for 2010/11.

After showing himself at the Washington Capitals Development Camp, it has also been announced that defender Kristaps Sotnieks has arrived at the camp.