Latvian Hockey News Report

By Didzis Rudmanis

Posts Tagged ‘SKA St. Petersburg

SKA ready for the Winter Classic

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Just days ago it was announced that the regular season game between Dinamo Riga and SKA St. Petersburg, planned on January 16, 2011, might be held in an outdoor stadium, thus becoming the first-ever KHL Winter Classic, as Arena Riga is already pre-occupied. Now, several days later, SKA has confirmed that they would be ready for such a game, reports TVNET.

Zigmars Priede, the Director of Hockey Operations of the club, said that also the league has mutually agreed that such a game would be organized. Now, according to Priede, Dinamo Riga is putting together the possible expenses, in order to see, whether the club can afford to organize such a game.

Let me just remind you that it is proposed the game could take place in the Skonto Stadium, just a couple of hundred metres away from Arena Riga. Skonto Stadium, built in 2000, is the national soccer stadium of Latvia, with a seating capacity of only 10,000 [just says how popular soccer is in Latvia]. The other options include playing the game in Liepaja Ice Arena or Inbox.lv Ice Arena, both having a capacity of only around 1000 seats.

The original story: A KHL Winter Classic in Riga?

Written by Didzis Rudmanis

November 4, 2010 at 21:37

A KHL Winter Classic in Riga?

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On January 16, 2011 the first-ever Kontinental Hockey League Winter Classic might take place in Riga, Latvia. As of now it is only one of the proposals, where to host the Dinamo Riga – SKA St. Petersburg regular season game, as Arena Riga, due to a concert for Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls 75th anniversary, is already occupied, reports Kas Jauns.

It is proposed that the game could take place in the Skonto Stadium, just a couple of hundred metres away from Arena Riga. Skonto Stadium, built in 2000, is the national soccer stadium of Latvia, with a seating capacity of only 10,000 [just says how popular soccer is in Latvia]. The other options include playing the game in Liepaja Ice Arena or Inbox.lv Ice Arena, both having a capacity of only around 1000 seats.

Up until now, Dinamo Riga has played five of its home games outside Arena Riga – in the autumn of 2008-09 two games were held in Inbox.lv Ice Arena and another two were played in Espoo, Finland, while last season, also due to arena being already occupied by other event, one game against Severstal Cherepovets was held in Liepaja. Inbox.lv serves also as the training facility for both Dinamo Riga and HK Riga.

“As of now, a decision has not been made, because it is only one of the proposals. Of course, we would really appreciate playing againsta SKA in Arena Riga, but we very well understand that maestro [Raimonds Pauls] has an anniversary,” said Zigmars Priede, the Director of Hockey Operations. “That would be nothing new, as the world has already experience of organising such games.”

This game would not become the first Kontinental Hockey League game under clear sky, as the first-ever KHL All-Star game in 2009 was held in Red Square, Moscow. Unfortunately, at the time temperature in Moscow was far below zero [approx. -20 °C] and the game attracted only around 2000 spectators. Luckily, January in Riga should not be as tough.

Latvian Railways Cup – through the prism of Dinamo

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This evening Dinamo Riga lost to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the final game of the 2010 Latvian Railways Cup. The final score was 5:1. The only goal for Dinamo was scored by Tomas Surovy early in the third period.

However, in general, Dinamo played a solid tournament in front of their fans, winning OHK Dynamo Moscow 4:2 and in the first game between Dinamo and Lokomotiv – winning Lokomotiv 5:1. Still, Dinamo lost to Atlant 3:5, but that game was played without Sandis Ozolins and Aleksandrs Nizivijs on the roster. Lauris Darzins has a minor injury, which let him miss the whole tournament, also Guntis Galvins missed the second half of the tournament.

During this week we could finally conclude that the Dinamo’s first line, at least for the beginning of the season, will be Nizivijs – Hartigan – Surovy, Ozolins – Cibulskis. The only possible change might be adding a more experienced partner for Ozolins, although Cibulskis proved himself to have improved his game over the summer. Despite the fact that the line is playing together for less than a month, they already have established great chemistry and will be a huge force during the season.

Also the second attacking line remained the same during the tournament and most likely will stay like that until September. Karsums – Sprukts – Ankipans was certainly the best line at the yesterday’s 5:1 victory over Lokomotiv. Sprukts played a terrific game, posting three (1+2) points, while Karsums scored another two goals. All three fit together pretty well.

As Darzins missed the tournament, regarding the third and fourth line head coach Julius Supler could arrange some experimental lines, which he did not regret doing. During the tournament we saw:

Bukarts – Trotter – M.Redlihs, Karamnov – Dzerins – Meija (these two lines were played in both games against Yaroslavl)

Podzins – Karamnov – Stals, Meija – Dzerins – Bukarts

Trotter – Karamnov – M.Redlihs, Meija – Dzerins – Bukarts.

However, it still seems that after the return of Darzins, we will see Darzins – Trotter – M.Redlihs as the third line, but the fourth line at the beginning of the season might look like Bukarts – Karamnov(Dzerins) – Meija.

There could be more speculations about the defensive pairings, so I will leave them out. Tellqvist stood in the net during three of the games and let in a total of 13 pucks, while Holt, in his only game, let in only a single goal. However, I would still doubt that Holt will be the starting goalie at the in September.

Dinamo will play only one more exhibition game – on September 3 against Metalurgs Liepaja. On September 9 the regular season will begin and Dinamo will face SKA in St. Petersburg.

Dinamo Riga roster presented

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A week after the beginning of Dinamo Riga pre-season camp, the roster has been officially announced. However, not a single new player was announced.

Unlike players, who drove to Arena Riga with their cars, head coach Julius Supler arrived on a white horse and there was a reason for it – right before the end of the 2009/10 regular season Supler agreed to a dare with captain Sandis Ozolinsh. The dare was for Supler to ride a white horse around the Riga center, if the team reached Western Conference semifinals, which they eventually did, beating SKA St. Petersburg.

However, two players, which were previously listed with Dinamo Riga, were not announced during the roster presentation. For some obvious reasons, sixteen-year-old Ivars Punnenovs was not presented together with Dinamo Riga, eventhough he is currently training together with the team. The other player not presented was Russian Igor Biryukov. As there has been no official announcement regarding him, we can only guess, whether he is still with the team or not.

Meanwhile, players like Ronalds Cinks, Raimonds Vilkoits and Juris Upitis were announced during the HK Riga roster presentation, which might mean that they will not pursue their pre-season preparation together with Dinamo Riga, but, once again, no official confirmation for that.

Also, in an short interview, general manager Normunds Sejejs said that the roster is done and within the next week the latest additions to the team will be announced.

Dinamo Riga roster at the presentation:

G Chris Holt USA
G Edgars Lusins Latvia
D Janis Andersons Latvia
D Oskars Cibulskis Latvia
D Guntis Galvins Latvia
D Martins Jakovlevs Latvia
D Rodrigo Lavins Latvia
D Sandis Ozolins Latvia
D Jekabs Redlihs Latvia
D Krisjanis Redlihs Latvia
D Arvids Rekis Latvia
D Kristaps Sotnieks Latvia
F Girts Ankipans Latvia
F Kenneth Bergqvist Sweden Try-out
F Roberts Bukarts Latvia
F Lauris Darzins Latvia
F Andris Dzerins Latvia
F Mark Hartigan Canada
F Martins Karsums Latvia
F Vitaly Karamnov Russia Try-out
F Gints Meija Latvia
F Aleksandrs Nizivijs Latvia
F Eriks Ozollapa Latvia Try-out
F Sergejs Pecura Latvia Try-out
F Ainars Podzins Latvia Try-out
F Mikelis Redlihs Latvia
F Juraj Simek Switzerland Try-out
F Janis Sprukts Latvia
F Juris Stals Latvia Try-out
F Tomas Surovy Czech Rep.
F Brock Trotter USA

Trotter contract with Dinamo Riga confirmed

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Dinamo Riga official homepage has announced that the 23-year-old Montreal Canadiens prospect Brock Trotter has signed a contract with the club, so rumours that Trotter is moving to the Kontinental Hockey League comes true.

Although Dinamo announcement does not state, for how many seasons the contract is signed, most realistically it is just a one-year contract.

A few days ago, when the first rumours about Trotter moving to Riga appeared, several Canadian sources estimated that the contract could be worth up to 250,000 USD, which is four times more than he made in the AHL last season (plus the significant tax differences). For a comparison, legendary Sandis Ozolinsh contract, who might be the most heavy one for Dinamo Riga, is rumoured to be worth around 840,000 USD.

23-year-old forward became a restricted free agent on July 1, but apparently did not succeed coming to an agreement with the Canadiens.

Trotter has spent several past seasons in Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. In 2009/10 he posted 77 points in 75 regular season games, adding 19 points in 19 games during the playoffs. Last season he also made two Montreal Canadiens appearances.

Dinamo Riga pre-season camp began already on July 23 with team highlights of Chris Holt, Sandis Ozolinsh, Mark Hartigan, Tomas Surovy among others on the roster. Club’s general manager Normunds Sejejs is still desperately working on finding a starting goalie.

Dinamo reached Western Conference Semifinals last season, after eliminating SKA St. Petersburg in the Quarterfinals. The club then proceeded to lose to HC MVD, which became the Western Conference champion later on.

Trotter heading to Riga?

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Several Canadian internet sources have announced that the 23-year-old Montreal Canadiens prospect Brock Trotter has signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga of the Kontinental Hockey League.

It is estimated that the contract could be worth up to 250,000 USD, which is four times more than he made in the AHL last season (plus the significant tax differences). For a comparison, legendary Sandis Ozolinsh contract, who might be the most heavy one for Dinamo Riga, is rumoured to be worth around 840,000 USD.

23-year-old forward became a restricted free agent on July 1, but apparently did not succeed coming to an agreement with the Canadiens.

Trotter has spent several past seasons in Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. In 2009/10 he posted 77 points in 75 regular season games, adding 19 points in 19 games during the playoffs. Last season he also made two Montreal Canadiens appearances.

Dinamo Riga pre-season camp began already on July 23 with team highlights of Chris Holt, Sandis Ozolinsh, Mark Hartigan, Tomas Surovy and others on the roster. Club’s general manager Normunds Sejejs is still desperately working on finding a starting goalie.

Dinamo reached Western Conference Semifinals last season, after eliminating SKA St. Petersburg in the Quarterfinals. The club then proceeded to lose to HC MVD, which became the Western Conference champion later on.

Masalskis signs with Yugra

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Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis, who spent previous season in Dinamo Riga and is a part of Latvian national team, has signed a one year contract with Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Already once the season ended, a lot of rumours regarding Masalskis future plans arised, the most popular ones including destinations of Spartak Moscow and Ak Bars Kazan. However, approximately two weeks ago there were rumours that he had signed with Budivelnyk Kiev(which withdrew from the KHL due to problems with arena less than a week ago).

Dinamo Riga GM Normunds Sejejs had said that both sides had tough time negotiating, so it ended without any beneficial results. Instead, Dinamo Riga signed Chris Holt and said to have a mutual agreement with Henrik Karlsson. As I already reported some days ago, Karlsson will not play in Riga, hoping of making the second goalie position in Calgary.

When Dinamo Riga was established in 2008, Masalskis signed a contract with the club and played eight spectacular games. Unfortunately, in October, after a team’s dinner in Old Riga, being drunk, he got into a brawl, where broke his ankle and so was fired from the club. When he finally healed his injury, he joined Fuchse Duisburg of DEL as a place, where to finish the season.

Prior 2009-10, Masalskis signed a new contract with Dinamo Riga and played a great season, allowing the team to beat respectable SKA St. Petersburg in the first round of Gagarin Cup Playoffs. SKA had such stars as Esche, Zubov, Cajanek, Sushinsky, Yashin on their roster. SKA St. Petersburg finished first in the Western Conference in the regular season.

Masalskis is the fourth import player signed by Yugra. The club has also signed contracts with Swedish defenseman Tommy Wargh and Slovak forwards Vladimir Dravecky and Marek Zagrapan.