Latvian Hockey News Report

By Didzis Rudmanis

Posts Tagged ‘Ricards Birzins

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.

Tribuncovs and Tjoluskins join Beibarys

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Just several days after Kaspars Astasenko was released from Kazakh league club Beibarys Atyrau, the number of Latvians in the club has been increased to five, with the signing of defenders Atvars Tribuncovs and Sergejs Tjoluskins, reports Kazakh federation’s homepage.

After failing to make the Beibarys Atyrau roster, 27-year-old Latvian Sergejs Tjoluskins signed with Lindlovens IF of the Swedish Division 1, where he played 22 games. Atvars Tribuncovs, however, began the season with HK SMS Credit of the Latvian league. 34-year-old defender in the past has played several seasons in such leagues as Russian Super League, Swedish Elitserien, DEL. He spent also majority of 2008-09 with Dinamo Riga of the KHL.

The very first news on Latvians joining Beibarys appeared in August, when Beibarys held their pre-season camp in Latvia and three Latvians joined the club for a try-out. A little while later another two Latvians joined the camp, but at the end of the camp only Raitums, Birzins and Smirnovs were signed, leaving Elvis Zelubovskis and Sergejs Tjoluskins without a contract. Later on also Kaspars Astasenko joined Beibarys, however he was released from the club after playing 14 games.

Latvians in Kazakhstan: statistics

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As Kazakhstan is a country far, far away, the information about the three Latvians playing for Beibarys Atyrau is usually far from being easily found, however recently some team statistics were released, making it possible for us to evaluate Latvian performance so far.

GP GAA SVS% TOI
G 33 Martins Raitums 16 1.54 94.17 974.28

Martins Raitums, who was presented in summer as one of the biggest names to join the Kazakh league so far, is currently the starting goalie of Beibarys. Still, the second goalie Vadim Seliverstov has played a solid amount (14) of games too. And, no matter in how competitive league a goalie is playing, a SVS% of 94.17 is still a very respectable figure.

GP G A P PIM +/-
D 29 Kaspars Astasenko 14 1 1 2 24 -1

The 35-year-old Latvian defender was released from the club already more than a week ago. His return to the professional ice hockey, after not playing for the whole 2009-10, didn’t turn out as successfully as he might have wished. Earlier in the season he did not play at all, in order to regain his form, however after 14 games played he was released from the club. It is said that the reason behind it was Astasenko’s lack of attitude.

GP G A P PIM +/-
D 10 Ricards Birzins 10 0 0 0 6 +1

Latvian defender Birzins, who played for Dinamo Riga farm club last season, has found himself dressed for only 10 out of 30 Beibarys games so far and he is one of seven Beibarys defender with a positive +/-. This season there have been a total of 13 defenders playing for Beibarys.

GP G A P PIM +/-
F 21 Andrejs Smirnovs 22 2 7 9 36 +3

27-year-old Andrejs Smirnovs is a regular player on Beibarys roster, and on the team’s top scoring list he is ninth. The team’s top scorer currently is Andrei Pelevin with 27 points.

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.

Atyrau remains unapproachable

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It has been two weeks, since the Beibarys Atyrau camp in Latvia ended and four(not three!) of the Latvian players, who were in the camp, were about to be signed. However, contracts would be signed only once they arrived in Kazakhstan. That has not happened as of yet, while all four players are still waiting for a visa.

Let me remind you that there were five players in the club for a try-out – Martins Raitums, Sergejs Tjoluskins, Ricards Birzins, Andrejs Smirnovs and Elvis Zelubovskis. Although it was previously announced that only Raitums, Birzins and Smirnovs had impressed coaches enough to be signed, also Sergejs Tjoluskins is currently waiting for a visa, in order to get on a flight to Kazakhstan.

The only Latvian player cut, Elvis Zelubovskis, just days after the camp ended joined Vastervik IK of the Swedish Division 1. For a try-out…

Beibarys willing to sign three Latvians

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Yesterday, on August 16, the Kazakh league club Beibarys Atyrau pre-season camp finished and out of the five Latvians, who joined the camp for a try-out, three of them received a contract offer, reports icebox.lv.

The three players, who have received a contract offer, are goalie Martins Raitums, defenceman Ricards Birzins and forward Andrejs Smirnovs. However, Elvis Zelubovskis did not impress the coaching staff of Beibarys enough to sign a contract with the club, while Sergejs Tjoluskins was not eager to wait for the Kazakh visa so long.

Before the Beibarys camp had started, Kazakh media announced that goaltender Martins Raitums was close to signing with another Kazakh club – Ertis Pavlodar, but already by then it was known, that Ertis is not the only Kazakh league club interested in Martins. At this point it is not certain, where exactly will Martins spend the next season.

During the training camp Beibarys played several exhibition games against Latvian clubs – they won HK Riga 3:2, and played two games also against Metalurgs Liepaja – 0:2 and 4:2.

Another two Latvians join Beibarys

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Kazakh club Beibarys Atyrau, who is still continuing their pre-season camp in Latvia, has been joined by another two Latvian players – Ricards Birzins and Andrejs Smirnovs, reports their representative – Baltic Sport Agency.

They are joining three Latvians, who are already in the camp – Martins Raitums, Elvis Zelubovskis and Sergejs Tjoluskins. It is expected that players might sign contracts by August 16, when the camp will end and the team will return to Kazakhstan.

This week the team will play three friendlies – today, on August 11, they will face Metalurgs Liepaja, on August 13 they will match-up HK Riga, but the next day they will once again play against Metalurgs.

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.

Dinamo pre-season camp takes off

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It is July 23 and, according to the rules of the Kontinental Hockey League, teams are officially allowed to begin their pre-season training camps, despite the fact that most of players across the league have been doing individual coach assignments already for some time. Today also Dinamo Riga began their training camp, which takes place in Valmiera, Latvia.

39 players have began the camp and the first cuts are expected to be made already on July 25. Cuts will either play in HK Riga of the MHL or have to find another club, where to pursue their careers. The team will be in Valmiera for a week.

Although the general manager of the club Normunds Sejejs promised that the a signing of a team’s starting goalie will be announced by the beginning of camp, apparently, Sejejs has not managed to fill his promises. Currently on the camp there is also Ervins Mustukovs, who has already signed with Sheffield Steelers of Elite Ice Hockey League for 2010/11, as Steelers will begin their camp only later on.

Currently, for unknown reasons, 1990-born forwards Ronalds Cinks, who is said to have a contract with Dinamo for 2010/11, is not on the camp roster. There were rumours that also Armands Berzins mights join the team for a try-out. Also there is a possibility that Kristaps Sotnieks might join the camp, as he has returned from the Washington Capitals Development Camp.

The camp roster also came up with several players, who were almost forgotten in the Latvian ice hockey society – Guntis Dzerins, Eriks Ozollapa and Edgars Lipsbergs. Guntis Dzerins (older brother of Andris) missed whole 2009/10, because of an injury, previously playing two seasons fro MHC Martin of Slovakian Extraliga. Both Ozollapa and Lipsbergs spent some time studying in the USA. Also two Russian players – Vitaly Karamnov and Igor Biryukov – are taking part in the camp. Karamnov, 1989-born forward, scored 45 points in 42 games in the MHL last season, as well as made seven KHL appearances with the Dynamo Moscow.

Camp roster:

G Chris Holt 1985 USA 2011-12
G Edgars Lusins 1984 Latvia Try-out
G Ervins Mustukovs 1984 Latvia Steelers
G Ivars Punnenovs 1994 Latvia Junior
D Janis Andersons 1986 Latvia ?
D Oskars Cibulskis 1988 Latvia ?
D Guntis Galvins 1986 Latvia ?
D Rodrigo Lavins 1974 Latvia 2011-11
D Sandis Ozolins 1972 Latvia 2011-11
D Jekabs Redlihs 1982 Latvia 2011-11
D Krisjanis Redlihs 1981 Latvia ?
D Arvids Rekis 1979 Latvia 2011-11
D Ricards Birzins 1989 Latvia Junior
D Aleksandrs Galkins 1990 Latvia Junior
D Martins Jakovlevs 1991 Latvia Junior
D Eriks Sevcenko 1991 Latvia Junior
F Girts Ankipans 1975 Latvia ?
F Roberts Bukarts 1990 Latvia 2010-11
F Lauris Darzins 1985 Latvia ?
F Andris Dzerins 1988 Latvia 2010-11
F Mark Hartigan 1977 Canada 2010-11
F Martins Karsums 1986 Latvia 2011-12
F Gints Meija 1987 Latvia ?
F Aleksandrs Nizivijs 1976 Latvia 2010-11
F Mikelis Redlihs 1984 Latvia ?
F Janis Sprukts 1982 Latvia 2010-11
F Tomas Surovy 1981 Czech Rep. 2010-11
F Raimonds Vilkoits 1990 Latvia 2010-11
F Kenneth Bergqvist 1980 Sweden Try-out
F Igor Biryukov 1990 Russia Try-out
F Guntis Dzerins 1985 Latvia Try-out
F Vitaly Karamnov 1989 Russia Try-out
F Edgars Lipsbergs 1989 Latvia Junior
F Eriks Ozollapa 1987 Latvia Try-out
F Sergejs Pecura 1987 Latvia Try-out
F Ainars Podzins 1992 Latvia Junior
F Juraj Simek 1987 Switzerland Try-out
F Juris Stals 1982 Latvia Try-out
F Juris Upitis 1991 Latvia Junior

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