Latvian Hockey News Report

By Didzis Rudmanis

Archive for January 2011

Hvorostinins and Birzins return to Latvia

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Latvian hockey players forward Vitalijs Hvorostinins and defender Ricards Birzins have left their clubs and returned to Latvia. While Hvorostinins played for the Val-d’Ior Foreurs of the QMJHL, Birzins spent the larger part of the season with Beibarys Atyrau of the Kazakh league.

18-year-old Hvorostinins who was picked this summer by Foreurs during the 2010 CHL Import Draft has returned to Latvia, rejoining DHK Latgale of the Latvian league, and playing already his first game with the club. Hvorostinins already played for DHK Latgale last season. For a longer period of time Hvorostinins was injured, managing to play only three games for the Val-d’Ior Foreurs, however he did not manage to earn a single point.

In the same time, defender Ricards Birzins has decided to leave Beibarys Atyrau. As of mid-December (latest statistics I got hold of) Birzins had been dressed only for 10 out of 30 games played at that moment. The lack of trust from the coaching staff must have been the main reason why Birzins has left the club. Ricards has now returned to Riga. As January 31 which is the trade deadline for majority of leagues in Europe is drawing closer and closer, hopefully Ricards will manage to find a new club.

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Raitums among leaders of Kazakh league

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Latvian goaltender Martins Raitums who plays for the Beibarys Atyrau and is a candidate for the Latvian national team World championship roster is currently leading the Kazakh league regarding both the goals against average and save percentage.

Kazakh media also note that the coaching staff of Ertis Pavlodar must be biting their elbows, as in the past summer the first rumours told that Raitums is about to join Ertis, however the club chose to sign Slovakian Stanislav Petrik instead. Petrik is not among the leading goalkeepers in the league. With the back-up goalie in the form of Ukrainian national team player Vadim Seliverstov, Beibarys goalie line is considered to be the best in the league.

Currently Raitums has played 20 games, helping the team to win in 15 of them, and posting a goals against average of 1.68 pucks. Raitums has also reflected 93.43 percent of the shots and had two shutouts.