Latvian Hockey News Report

By Didzis Rudmanis

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.

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