Latvian Hockey News Report

By Didzis Rudmanis

Posts Tagged ‘Dinamo-Juniors Riga

Pelss talks about his own past

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Once Edmonton Oilers had picked Latvian forward Kristians Pelss in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, a lot of people wondered, who is this kid. As months passed and Pelss arrived to Edmonton, some of them were resolved, but not a lot about his earlier days was learned. We now offer not only some background info about the player, but also a small conversation with Pelss.

Kristians has began 2010-11 by posting a goal and adding a single assist in 10 games for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.

Pelss, who was born in Preili, for the first time stepped on ice in Daugavpils, where he began his junior career. At the age of 16 he managed to earn a spot on the DHK Latgale team, which played in the Belarusian league – a professional league, comparable to British Elite Ice Hockey League, French Ligue Magnus or even Austrian EBEL. In 2009-10, when DHK Latgale, due to financial problems, returned to playing in Latvian league, which currently is a half-professional league, Pelss joined Dinamo Juniors Riga, the farm club of KHL’s Dinamo Riga.

Pelss statistics:

GP G A P PIM
2008-2009 DHK Latgale Belarus 31 3 4 7 17
DHK Latgale-2 Latvia 22 9 11 20 24
Daugavpils U20 Latvia U20 8 3 9 12 16
Latvia U18 WJC-18 D1 4 0 1 1 6
2009-2010 Dinamo Juniors Riga Belarus 46 6 3 9 28
Latvia U18 WJC-18 6 2 1 3 0

Kristians also did not mind answering us a couple of questions about his earlier days of his hockey career.

Who encouraged you to start playing hockey?

– When I was eight years old, my father took me to Daugavpils, where at that time an arena had been recently opened, and already before my first practice he bought me a full equipment – by then I never once had skated, but I learned that fairly quick and I really enjoyed it. Before turning to ice hockey, for several years I attended Judo lessons.

Do you consider yourself an alumnus of Metalurgs Liepaja or Daugavpils hockey school? After all, you have spent reasonable time in both of the cities.

– Despite the fact that I gained a lot also during my time in Liepaja, I am without a doubt an alumnus of Daugavpils hockey school, because that is where I started to play and that is where I grew up as a hockey player.

When you returned to Daugavpils, you had just turned 16 years old – did you expect to make the roster of DHK Latgale, who played in the Belarusian league, straight away?

– No, but prior 2008-09 I was coached by Jurijs Agureikins, who let me practice and play together with one up to three years older players than myself, which I am truly thankful to him.

How did you feel, when, being 16 years old, you started playing among professionals?

– Straight away I felt the difference between junior and professional hockey. Still, at least in my opinion, I got used to the professional hockey pretty fast, as my teammates helped me a lot, often saying what I ought to do in different situations.

What relationship do you have with Vitalijs Hvorostinins? [Hvorostinins also comes from Preili and now plays for Val-d’Ior Foreurs in the QMJHL]

– Well, I could say that he is my best friend – we grew up together and for a longer time played together. Also now we regularly talk to each other on Skype, encouraging one another and that really helps, when you don’t see your friends too often.

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.

HeKi signs Straupe

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Finnish Mestis (second tier) league club HeKi has signed a two-way contract with 21-year-old Latvian forward Janis Straupe, who was released from Belarusian Metallurg Zhlobin a couple of week ago, reports icebox.lv.

Straupe spent the last season with Dinamo Juniors Riga, the affiliate of Dinamo Riga, at the Belarusian Extraleague. He posted 39 (15+24) points in 49 games, finishing the season as the team’s top scorer along Miks Indrasis. In 2008/09 Straupe appeared also in five Dinamo Riga games. Already in May Janis signed a contract with Metallurg Zhlobin, however in the middle of August he was released from the club.

Straupe has become already the fourteenth (!) Latvian in different Finnish leagues for the upcoming season and the fourth Latvian in Mestis, others being Roberts Jekimovs (Jokipojat), Mihails Koklins (LeKi), Janis Purins (try-out, Kiekko-Vantaa).

Bullitis resigns with DHK Latgale

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Also Latvian league clubs are continuing their preparation for the upcoming season and DHK Latgale has announced that it has resigned 24-year-old forward Eduards Bullitis, who played for the club already last season, informs club’s homepage.

Last season he finished just behind Lithuanian teammate Egidijus Bauba, who collected 58 points and was the league top scorer. Bullitis finished with 56 points. By the way, also Bauba will play this season in DHK Latgale.

The team has also made several addition to their roster, which includes Lithuanian goalkeeper Arturas Kuzmicius, 18-year-old forward Rihards Grigors, who appeared in eight games for HK Ozolnieki/Monarhs last season, defender Edgars Apelis, who played for Dinamo-Juniors Riga last season. The club will also see the return of Aleksejs Matvejevs, who spent the last season with Bietigheim-Bissingen U20 of the German U20 league.

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

Dinamo Riga announces 48 candidates for the MHL team (updated)

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Dinamo Riga is getting ready not only for the next season of Kontinental Hockey League, but also MHL, where HK Riga is going to take part in for the first time. Just before the beginning of training camp on June 5, club’s homepage initially announced 46 candidates for the team, but a few days later 2 more players (Jasionis and Ozols) were added to the list.

Both Viktors Jasionis and Mikus Ozols are forwards. While Ozols, being 1991-born, played in Arboga last year, Jasionis played in the Latvian league club Metalurgs Liepaja-2.

Pos. Nat. Name Date of birth Previous club
GK Latvia Ivars Punnenovs 1994.05.30 Pikes EHC Oberthurgau
GK Latvia Kristers Gudlevskis 1992.07.31 Ozolnieki/Juniors
GK Latvia Rihards Cimermanis 1993.03.22 SK Riga/Profs 18
GK Latvia Toms Broks 1991.04.24 Arboga J20
GK Latvia Uldis Calpa 1991.09.04 SK Riga/Profs 18
DF Latvia Andrejs Smirnovs 1992.06.27 SK Riga/Profs 18
DF Latvia Arturs Salija 1992.05.15 SK Riga/Profs 18
DF Latvia Edgars Dikis 1991.10.16 Arboga J20
DF Latvia Edvards Zarins 1991.12.02 Arboga J20
DF Latvia Eriks Sevcenko 1991.04.28 Dinamo-Juniors Riga
DF Latvia Gustavs Celms 1993.11.12 SK Riga/Profs 18
DF Latvia Janis Lazdans 1992.10.04 SK Riga/Profs 18
DF Latvia Karlis Kalvitis 1991.03.25 Shattuck St. Mary’s
DF Latvia Kriss Lipsbergs 1993.04.03 SK Riga/Profs 18
DF Latvia Kristaps Nimanis 1993.07.21 SK Riga/Profs 18
DF Latvia Martins Jakovlevs 1991.05.04 Dinamo-Juniors Riga
DF Latvia Martins Porejs 1991.07.06 Dinamo-Juniors Riga
DF Latvia Nikita Kolesnikovs 1992.10.30 SK Riga/Profs 18
DF Latvia Pauls Zvirbulis 1993.02.24 SK Riga/Profs 18
DF Latvia Ricards Birzins 1989.04.24 Dinamo-Juniors Riga
FW Latvia Andris Siksnis 1993.05.06 SK Riga/Profs 18
FW Latvia Davis Straupe 1992.08.05 SK Riga/Profs 18
FW Latvia Deniss Baskatovs 1993.04.06 HK Prizma
FW Latvia Edgars Bebris 1991.08.07 HK Ogre
FW Latvia Elvijs Biezais 1991.06.30 Dinamo-Juniors Riga
FW Latvia Ivans Dmitrijevs 1992.07.08 HK Prizma
FW Latvia Janis Berzins 1992.12.20 SK Riga/Profs 18
FW Latvia Janis Zarins 1991.07.29 Arboga J20
FW Sweden Jesper Aasa 1991.08.12 Shattuck St. Mary’s
FW Latvia Juris Upitis 1991.06.16 Dinamo-Juniors Riga
FW Latvia Juris Ziemins 1993.09.15 SK Riga/Profs 18
FW Latvia Kirils Tambijevs 1992.02.04 SK Riga/Profs 18
FW Latvia Kristians Pelss 1992.09.09 Dinamo-Juniors Riga
FW Latvia Lauris Rancevs 1993.10.17 SK Riga/Profs 18
FW Latvia Maris Bicevskis 1991.08.03 Dinamo-Juniors Riga
FW Latvia Mikelis Freimanis 1992.09.17 Ozolnieki/Juniors
FW Latvia Miks Indrasis 1990.09.30 Dinamo-Juniors Riga
FW Latvia Miks Lipsbergs 1991.06.09 Dinamo-Juniors Riga
FW Latvia Raimonds Upenieks 1992.02.20 SK Riga/Profs 18
FW Latvia Raimonds Vilkoits 1990.04.10 Dinamo-Juniors Riga
FW Latvia Rinalds Rautensilds 1993.01.15 SK Riga/Profs 18
FW Latvia Ronalds Cinks 1990.03.22 Dinamo Riga
FW Latvia Rudolfs Prusis 1992.05.26 SK Riga/Profs 18
FW Latvia Rustams Begovs 1993.06.26 SK Riga/Profs 18
FW Latvia Vjaceslavs Movko 1992.01.22 HK Ogre
FW Latvia Vladislavs Dobrenkijs 1991.08.08 Dinamo-Juniors Riga

Three Latvians drafted in the CHL Import Draft (updated)

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Today Latvian forwards Kristians Pelss, who was drafted into the NHL by Edmonton Oilers three days ago, and Vitalijs Hvorostinins, as well as defender Ricards Berzins(Richards Berzins), were drafted during the CHL Import Draft. Pelss was picked by the Edmonton Oil Kings of WHL #19 overall, while Hvorostinins was selected by Val-d’Or Foreurs #30 overall, but Berzins was picked by Owen Sound Attack #58 overall.

Let me just remind you that last season Pelss played for the Dinamo-Juniors Riga in the Belarusian league. Pelss, who learned the game of hockey in Daugavpils, scored nine points in 48 games last season. He also played in the U18 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, where was one of the Latvian national team leaders, although managed to score only two goals.

Vitalijs Hvorostinins, just like Pelss, learned the game of hockey in Daugavpils and, instead of Pelss, Hvorostinins played in local DHK Latgale last season, scoring 23 (9+14) points in 30 games. He also played several games for the Daugavpils U18 team.

Ricards Berzins spent previous season with HS Prizma/Pardaugava 92 in the Latvian U18 league and did not make the Latvian U18 national team. In 2008-09 he also played 20 games for Latvian league club HS Prizma/Hanza Riga. Before this draft, his name was rather unfamiliar around the Latvian hockey community.

The highest-ever drafted Latvian player in the CHL Import Draft was Agris Saviels, who was the number one draft pick in 1999. He was picked by Owen Sound Attack. In a more recent history, Kaspars Daugavins was the third overall pick in 2006. He was chosen by Toronto St. Michael’s Majors of OHL. Last year Daugavins made his debut in the NHL, playing a single game for the Ottawa Senators.