Latvian Hockey News Report

By Didzis Rudmanis

Archive for September 2010

HeKi decides to release Straupe

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Latvian center Janis Straupe has not managed to impress the coaching staff of Finnish Mestis league club HeKi so that they would sign the 21-year-old Latvian, thus being released from the club.

He joined HeKi in late August for a one month try-out and played three official games for the club, scoring a goal and adding two penalty minutes. Unfortunately, he has been released, making it rather difficult finding a new club, as the season has already started.

However, currently it seems that the large number of Latvians employed in Finland (14 !) will not decrease after all, as Martins Gipters is on his way to Suomi-sarja club RoKi.

Written by Didzis Rudmanis

September 27, 2010 at 17:11

Cipulis consecutive game streak ends

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After playing 130 consecutive KHL games, Amur Khabarovsk’s Latvian forward Martins Cipulis was not dressed for today’s game against Salavat Yulaev Ufa, ending his impressive streak.

Cipulis was only one of 13 KHL players, which did not miss a single game during the first two league’s seasons. The league is currently led by three Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s players – Josef Vasicek, Ivan Tkachenko and Gennady Churilov, who have all as of now played 154 consecutive games. Before ending his streak, Latvian forward was ranked in the seventh place.

However, Cipulis still owns the Dinamo Riga consecutive game record – 124 games. He is currently chased down by Mikelis Redlihs, whose active streak is currently set at 114 games.

This is a list of Dinamo Riga’s top consecutive game streaks (streaks in bold are still active):

  • 124 – Martins Cipulis – 2008-2010
  • 114 – Mikelis Redlihs – 2008-2010
  • 83 – Marcel Hossa – 2009-2010
  • 75 – Lauris Darzins – 2008-2009
  • 56 – Lauris Darzins – 2009-2010
  • 52 – Aleksandrs Nizivijs – 2008-2009
  • 44 – Rodrigo Lavins – 2008-2009
  • 43 – Mark Hartigan – 2008-2009
  • 40 – Girts Ankipans – 2008-2009
  • 38 – Janis Sprukts – 2009-2010
  • 37 – Armands Berzins – 2008-2009
  • 34 – Matt Ellison – 2008-2009
  • 34 – Mike Iggulden – 2009-2010
  • 32 – Aleksandrs Nizivijs – 2009-2010
  • 31 – Aigars Cipruss – 2008-2009
  • 31 – Rodrigo Lavins – 2009
  • 31 – Rodrigo Lavins – 2009-2010
  • 30 – Girts Ankipans – 2009

Andersons and Stals reassigned to Metalurgs

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Dinamo Riga players defender Janis Andersons and forward Juris Stals, after returning from an away tour in Russia, have both been reassigned to Belarusian Extraleague club Metalurgs Liepaja, located 200 kilometers away from Riga.

Neither of the players have played a single game for Dinamo, however they both traveled to an away tour in Russia, in order to be ready to step into the roster, in case of injuries. Along them, also junior players Vitaly Karamnov and Ainars Podzins were with the team. Moreover, Podzins has been dressed for each and every game so far, but had the chance to participate in the actual game only tonight, during the 6:3 win over Neftekhimik Niznekamsk.

Metalurgs Liepaja has already played six regular season games, winning half of them. After many rumours during summer, in August Dinamo Riga signed an agreement with Metalurgs Liepaja, so that Dinamo might reassign up to five players to Liepaja, having no rights to call up a player signed by Metalurgs.

Hossa: “It is Russia after all”

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Today Arena Riga experienced it’s first 2010/11 KHL regular season game. The arena was overcrowded, however, in a game, which you could describe only as a hockey carousel, Dinamo Riga lost 4:5 in a shootout to Ak Bars Kazan, two time Gagarin Cup champion and the new home for Riga’s cult player Marcel Hossa. In a close collaboration with Baltā olimpiāde, we now offer you a post-game interview with Marcel.

Many fans and journalists were anticipating this game only to see you in action. How do you feel playing at front of the Riga fans?

– It was indeed very gratifying to return to Riga, moreover, to play at a season opening game here. Atmosphere in Arena Riga is always first rate. Fans had treated me very well during those past two seasons. Even tonight: they chanted my name – it was kind of cool. Hockey is my life, but I now play for Ak Bars and need to look at other direction. Riga is my second home city, where I will always return with joy.

Yes, now a new city is knocking at your life’s front door – Kazan – a new country, a different culture…

– Of course, there are certain differences regarding culture in Kazan. Riga is far more European. You know, it is Russia after all… However, I have no problems in Kazan, Ak Bars is a great organization and I can get anything I need.

About tonight’s game, Ak Bars scored two early goals. How did it affect the rest of the game? Because later Riga managed to respond with four goals, but in the end the victory was clinched by Ak Bars anyway.

– We managed to begin the game admirably well. Still, we must learn from our mistakes… We can’t play the same level of hockey for the whole three periods… Now we have two tough games ahead of us – in Minsk and Moscow.

What do you expect from yourself this season?

– I want to play at the Gagarin Cup Finals and keep on scoring goals. Kazan is a two-time Gagarin Cup champion, but there is still a very long way until the third cup to be hoisted…

Finally, how much do you stay in touch with your old teammates from Dinamo Riga?

– We call each other once in a while. One must understand that players do not have too much spare time during the season. I have the best relationships with Sergejs Naumovs, Aleksandrs Nizivijs and Mark Hartigan.

Two Latvians at Hull Stingrays

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After undergoing severe financial problems, bankruptcy and a rebirth with new owner, Hull Stingrays has now added two Latvian defenders – Aivars Gaisins and Kriss Grundmanis – to their Elite Ice Hockey League roster.

Gaisins joined Hull Stingrays already in January, to fill holes left by injuries, but apparently was resigned only today. The 28-year-old Latvian played only two games for Stingrays last season, breaking his hand in the latter of them. 21-year-old Kriss Grundmanis spent the previous season with Dinamo Juniors Riga of Belarusian league – the farm club of Kontinental Hockey League’s Dinamo Riga.

This will increase the total number of Latvian in EIHL to four, with Toms Hartmanis already being signed by Newcastle Vipers and goalie Ervins Mustukovs, announced as the league’s best player of week one, playing for Sheffield Steelers. There are another four players in English Premier Ice Hockey League.

Ozollapa fails to make Pelicans roster

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Latvian forward Eriks Ozollapa, who had signed a try-out contract with Pelicans Lahti of SM-liiga, has not been able to make the team’s roster.

In July Ozollapa already failed to make Dinamo Riga’s roster, but now the 23-year-old forward is once again without a club. Only now the situation is slightly more difficult – the season has already started in most countries and finding a new club might be  more difficult.

Without Ozollapa, there are only two more Latvians left at SM-liiga – Kaspars Saulietis and Armands Berzins, who both managed to sign one-year contracts with HPK, after proving themselves during a try-out. In lower-tier Finnish league there are 11 (!) more Latvian players.

Written by Didzis Rudmanis

September 13, 2010 at 15:28

Beibarys signs also Astasenko

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Kazakh league club Beibarys Atyrau next year will have the most Latvians at once out of any other foreign hockey club, as, after coming to an agreement with three Latvians, now also 35-year-old Kaspars Astasenko has signed a contract, reports Baltic Sport Agency.

Latvian defender, who has played 23 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning, has joined Beibarys after not playing the whole previous season. Between 2007 and 2009 Kaspars played in Italian league club Ritten/Renon.

Let me just remind you that during the recent pre-season, Beibarys scheduled a camp in Latvia, inviting five Latvian players to it. Later on, it chose to sign Martins Raitums, Andrejs Smirnovs and Ricards Birzins. However, none of the Latvians have joined Beibarys as of yet, as they were gaining Kazakh visa and, finally, will leave Latvia on September 13.

Latvian Legion 2010/11

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This list was last updated in mid-January, 2011.

As some of the European leagues have already started their 2010/11 seasons and many others are on the very verge of it, I believe, it is exactly the right time to post a list of all the Latvian players, spending their upcoming seasons abroad. The current list includes 150 players.

This list is never going to be fully complete and that is why any additions or corrections are welcomed at the comments section.

North America

  • National hockey league
  1. Karlis Skrastins – Dallas Stars
  2. Oskars Bartulis – Philadelphia Flyers
  3. Raitis Ivanans – Calgary Flames
  4. Arturs Kulda – Atlanta Thrashers (a possible call-up)
  • American hockey league
  1. Arturs Kulda – Chicago Wolves
  2. Kaspars Daugavins – Binghamton Senators
  3. Oskars Bartulis – Adirondack Phantoms
  • Western hockey league
  1. Kristians Pelss – Edmonton Oil Kings
  • United States hockey league
  1. Zemgus Girgensons – Dubuque Fighting Saints
  • ACHA
  1. Renars Rukmanis – Duquesne University
  • MetJHL
  1. Hedijs Pleskacovs – Florida Eels
  2. Livars Lans – Florida Eels
  • NAHL
  1. Nils Semjonovs – Aberdeen Wings
  2. Ralfs Freibergs – Texas Tornado
  3. Ricards Berzins – Wenatchee Wild
  • GMHL
  1. Nikita Jevpalovs – South Muskoka Shield
  2. Toms Taurins – Bradford Rattlers
  3. Rudolfs Prusis – Bradford Rattlers
  • CSHL
  1. Nauris Buskevics – Quad City Jr. Flames
  • WSHL
  1. Alberts Boluss – Texas Jr. Brahmas
  2. Ivo Dimitrijevs – Arizona Redhawks
  • IJHL
  1. Mareks Kepals – Boston Jr. Blackhawks
  2. Girts Savrinovics – Philadelphia Jackals
  • RAMHL
  1. Ainis Zalans – Sisec Selects
  2. Rihards Marenis – Sisec Selects
  3. Davis Sprukts – Sisec Selects
  • Midget AAA
  1. Hardijs Kupaks – Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets
  2. Mikus Sprinovskis – PEAC Piranhas
  • Midget AA
  1. Rudolfs Kalvitis – Shattuck St. Mary’s
  • Prep School
  1. Teodors Blugers – Shattuck St. Mary’s
  2. Olafs Jurenko – Cedarburg Bulldogs
  • Rocky Mountain Senior hockey league
  1. Ivars Muzis – Sun Valley Suns
  2. Vilnis Nikolaisons – Sun Valley Suns

Europe

Austria

  • Austrian Oberliga (third tier)
  1. Matiss Gelazis – Graz 99ers II (also plays in Slovenian league)
  2. Zintis Zusevics – Graz 99ers II (also plays in Slovenian league)

Belarus

  • Belarussian Extraleague
  1. Atvars Tribuncovs – Gomel
  • MHL
  1. Edgars Ulescenko – Yunost
  2. Aleksandrs Kercs jr. – Yunost
  3. Aleksandrs Galkins – Zubry Minsk

Czech Republic

  • Czech Extraliga
  1. Aleksejs Sirokovs – HC Kometa Brno
  • Czech 2. liga (third tier)
  1. Aleksandrs Baburins – HC Most

Denmark

  • Al-Bank Ligaen
  1. Sergejs Cubars – Hvidovre
  • Denmark2
  1. Oskars Jursans – Gladsaxe
  2. Dmitrijs Orlovs – Amager Ishockey

Estonia

  • Meistriliiga
  1. Maris Lotko – HK Kalev-Valk Tartu
  2. Lauris Dancis – HK Kalev-Valk Tartu
  3. Davis Zunde – HK Kalev-Valk Tartu

Finland

  • SM-liiga
  1. Kaspars Saulietis – HPK
  2. Armands Berzins – HPK
  • Mestis
  1. Roberts Jekimovs – Jokipojat
  • Suomi-sarja
  1. Gints Purins – Hermes
  2. Gatis Gricinskis – Hermes
  3. Janis Purins – Hermes
  4. Raitis Pujats – FPS
  5. Mihails Koklins – HC Levia
  • Finland4
  1. Girts Jansons – Muik Hockey
  2. Viktors Jasjonis – IK Kronan
  3. Artjoms Ogorodnikovs – IK Kronan
  4. Vadims Vabiscevics – Kraft
  5. Edgars Cermnihs – Kraft
  6. Vladislavs Dudins – Kraft
  7. Janis Liepa – PyPo
  8. Edgars Dzirkalis – PyPo
  9. Roberts Danemanis – PyPo
  10. Nauris Enkuzens – Kiekkohait
  11. Martins Gipters – Kiekkohait
  • Jr. B I-divisioona
  1. Konstantis Sipunovs – Ahmat Hyvinkaa U18

France

  • Ligue Magnus
  1. Olegs Koreskovs – Morzine-Avoriaz
  • Division 1
  1. Rolands Vigners – Reims
  2. Raimonds Danilics – Montpellier
  3. Janis Brakss – Montpellier
  4. Janis Straupe – Montpellier
  • Division 2
  1. Elvis Zelubovskis – Lyon
  • French U22 league
  1. Rolands Vigners – Reims U22

Germany

  • DEL
  1. Herberts Vasiljevs – Krefeld Pinguine
  • Regionalliga
  1. Lauris Ziemins – Herford
  • U20 Bundesliga
  1. Janis Berzins – ESC Moskitos Essen U20
  • DNL
  1. Arturs Birstins – SC Riessersee U18
  2. Vladislavs Tatarnikovs- SC Riessersee U18

Great Britain

  • EIHL
  1. Toms Hartmanis – Newcastle Vipers
  2. Ervins Mustukovs – Sheffield Steelers
  3. Aivars Gaisins – Hull Stingrays
  • EPIHL
  1. Maris Ziedins – Peterborough Phantoms
  2. Kristaps Pete – Sheffield Steeldogs
  3. Kriss Grundmanis – Sheffield Steeldogs
  4. Edgars Bebris – Sheffield Steeldogs (according to eliteprospects.com, has gained an UK citizenship)
  5. Janis Ozolins – Sheffield Steeldogs
  6. Andrejs Maslovskis – Telford Tigers

Italy

  • Serie A
  1. Agris Saviels – Valpellice
  • Serie B
  1. Olegs Sorokins – Vipiteno

Kazakhstan

  • Kazakh league
  1. Martins Raitums – Beibarys Atyrau
  2. Andrejs Smirnovs – Beibarys Atyrau
  3. Sergejs Tjoluskins – Beibarys Atyrau

Lithuania

  • Ledo Ritulio Lyga
  1. Vladimirs Parhomenko – Ledo Linija Siauliai
  2. Arturs Batraks – Ledo Linija Siauliai
  3. Raitis Brinecs – Ledo Linija Siauliai
  4. Andris Valters – Ledo Linija Siauliai
  5. Igors Birjukovs – Sadvita Klaipeda
  6. Kristaps Buzats – Sadvita Klaipeda
  7. Nikita Dobrenkijs – Sadvita Klaipeda
  8. Aleksejs Proposins – Sadvita Klaipeda
  9. Guntis Pujats – Sadvita Klaipeda

Netherlands

  • Eredivisie
  1. Aleksandrs Terjohins – Heerenveen Flyers

Norway

  • Get Division (second thier)
  1. Janis Smits – Comet

Poland

  • Polish 2nd league
  1. Toms Bluks – Sokoly Torun
  2. Edgars Adamovics – Sokoly Torun
  3. Andrejs Lavrenovs – Sokoly Torun

Russia

  • KHL
  1. Martins Cipulis – Amur Khabarovsk
  2. Georgijs Pujacs – Sibir Novosibirsk
  3. Aleksandrs Jerofejevs – Metallurg Novokuznetsk
  4. Edgars Masalskis – Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk
  5. Maris Jass – Neftekhimik Niznekamsk
  • VHL
  1. Sergejs Pecura – Krylia Sovetov
  • MHL
  1. Artjoms Dasutins – HK Sheriff
  2. Edgars Ulescenko – Yunost
  3. Aleksandrs Kercs jr. – Yunost
  4. Ronalds Cinks – Krylia Sovetov
  5. Aleksandrs Galkins – Zubry Minsk
  • Russian 1st league
  1. Andrejs Ignatovics – Titan Klin
  2. Juris Ozols – Tital Klin

Slovenia

  • Slovenian league
  1. Matiss Gelazis – Graz 99ers II (also plays in Austrian Oberliga)
  2. Zintis Zusevics – Graz 99ers II (also plays in Austrian Oberliga)

Sweden

  • Division 1
  1. Aleksandrs Semjonovs – Arboga
  2. Rolands Gritans – Arboga
  3. Arturs Ozolins – Karlskrona HK
  4. Maksims Sirokovs – Karlskrona HK
  5. Sergejs Louskins – Lindlovens IF
  6. Renars Undelis – Lindlovens IF
  7. Alberts Ilisko – Nynashamns IF
  8. Valters Ozolins – Arlanda
  9. Krists Kalnins – Arlanda
  10. Aleksandrs Macijevskis – Bjorkloven
  11. Nikolajs Jerofejevs – Tranas
  • Division 2
  1. Martins Ozolins – Sollentuna HC
  2. Toms Tilla – Sollentuna HC
  3. Aleksandrs Bebriss-Fedotovs – Vannas HC
  4. Roberts Potapenko – Vannas HC
  5. Vadims Maticins – Jonstorps IF
  • Division 3
  1. Elvis Veldze – Syrianska/Armeniska HC
  2. Oskars Blums – Syrianska/Armeniska HC
  • J20 Elit
  1. Kristaps Legzdins – Sunne J20
  • J20 Div. 1
  1. Boriss Tretjakovs – Arboga J20
  • J18 Elit
  1. Martins Lavrovs – Arlanda J18
  2. Edgars Klavins – Lidingo J18
  3. Ansis Brikainis – Lidingo J18
  4. Kristaps Riekstins – Lidingo J18
  5. Kristaps Bazevics – Lidingo J18
  6. Girts Zemitis – Nacka HK J18
  7. Roberts Smits – Nykoping J18
  8. Aleksandrs Bebriss-Fedotovs – Vannas J18
  9. Roberts Potapenko – Vannas J18
  • J18 Div. 1
  1. Boriss Tretjakovs – Arboga J18
  2. Romans Semjonovs – Arboga J18

Switzerland

  • NLB
  1. Ronalds Kenins – GC/Kusnacht Lions
  2. Eriks Ozollapa – Basel
  • 1. Amateur Regio League (third tier)
  1. Gundars Berkis – Chiasso
  • Elite Jr. A
  1. Juris Zandovskis – Gotteron U20
  2. Martins Mezulis – Gotteron U20
  3. Ronalds Kenins – GCK/ZSC Lions U20
  • Elite Jr. B
  1. Janis Kenins – Thurgau U20
  • Elite Novizen
  1. Elvis Merkzlikins – Lugano U18
  2. Deivids Sarkanis – Lugano U18
  3. Ivars Punnenovs – Pikes Oberthurgau U18

Written by Didzis Rudmanis

September 6, 2010 at 21:59

Posted in Latvians around the world

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Ignatovics joins Titan Klin

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Days ago Polish club Sokoly Torun failed to qualify for the Polish league, meaning that the club will spend the next season in the Polish 2nd league. While Ignatovics decided to leave the club, both Toms Bluks and Edgars Adamovics have signed a one-year contract with the club.

39-year-old Andrejs Ignatovics, after leaving the Polish club, has now joined Titan Klin of the Russian 1st (third-tier) league for a try-out.

The only other notable Latvian player in the lower-tier professional Russian leagues currently is Sergejs Pecura, who resigned with Krylia Sovetov,  after failing to make the Dinamo Riga roster this summer.

Latvian U20 suffers a painful loss to Russia U18

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This evening Latvian U20 national team played already the second game of the sixth Sergei Zholtok Memorial Cup held in Riga. After winning the Belarusian U20 team 3:1 yesterday, Latvians suffered a loss to Russian U18 team 3:5, with four goals scored by Maxim Shalunov.

The game set off in a relatively high tempo, with both teams crushing the net, however, in the sixth minute of the game Maxim Shalunov scored already on the first powerplay of the night. Minutes later Latvians took the initiave of the game and tied the score, when Girts Jansons put the puck in after a rebound from Denis Perevozhchikov’s pads, scoring already his second goal of the tournament. Already late in the period Shalunov scored just another goal.

The second period began with two powerplays for the Latvian team, and in the latter of them Latvians crushed the net with many shots, however Perevozhchikov kept the puck out of it. In the middle of the period Shalunov and the only 1994-born player of the tournament Mikhail Grigorenko were put in the same powerplay unit and almost immediately Grigorenko increased Russian lead to 3:1. After a horrible mistake by defender Raimonds Tubelis, Shalunov was left alone in the front of the net and faced no problems beating Janis Kalnins. However, with a couple of minutes left in the period, Edgars Abolins scored a one-timer goal to make it 4:2.

In the third period Russian team had paced down, which allowed Latvians to attack most of the time and led the Russian defenceman to earn several successive penalties. Latvians were down by two goals and the game could have been turned around, if it was not for the admirable performance of Perevozhchikov. When there were only three minutes left in the regulation, Raimonds Tubelis once again forgot about Shalunov, who scored already his fourth goal of the night. With one minute left in a game, during a delayed call, Reinis Demiters managed to shoot a heavy shot, which found its way to the back of the net, but that was the end of it. Russians celebrated a 5:3 victory.

Generally, Latvian first line (Upitis – Bicevskis – Biezais) proved themselves to be capable of surrounding the opposing net and they had many great chances throughout the game. Another notable players was the second line center Ronalds Kenins. As of defenders, Martins Porejs left the greatest impression for me. With around five-six more additions to the team, I feel optimistic about the Latvian opportunity to win their U20 World Championship Division 1 group and once again play in Elite Division in 2012.

Latvian team roster:

Janis Kalnins

Eriks Sevcenko – Martins Jakovlevs; Juris Upitis – Maris Bicevskis – Elvijs Biezais

Reinis Demiters – Martins Porejs; Miks Lipsbergs – Ronalds Kenins – Vladislavs Dobrenkijs

Romans Sevcenko – Toms Taurins; Arturs Mickevics – Edgars Abolins – Maris Dilevka

Raimonds Tubelis – Ronalds Gritans; Egils Kalns – Bruno Zabis – Girts Jansons