The 2016-17 hockey season at whole hasn't ended, but this far it's been very, very eventful. In the October 7, 2016 at the newly built complex next to the Volvo ledus halle, Latvian Ice Hockey Federation (LHF) held congress where LHF president Kirovs Lipmans who held his president position in 1994-95, 1998-16 was deposed from his chair. This revolution was like a thunder from a clear skies and there were a few people and hockey fans who didn't like it, everyone wanted long awaited changes.
The new LHF president has become former Latvian prime minister, politician and businessman Aigars Kalvītis, who is very controversial person Latvia, with a new president came new chairman's and other working staff.
Since the hockey revolution some things with small steps but compelling has moved forward. Starting from a new LHF logo, homepage improvements, LHF communication with society and media improvements, Latvian men's national ice hockey team (Latvian NT) image improvements and desire to introduction a traditions in Latvian NT, new Latvian NT players dressing room and new headquarters for LHF itself. These new things and improvements brings a positive aura in LHF, Latvian NT and Latvian hockey fans. The candidacy for 2021 IIHF World Men's Ice Hockey Championship with Belarus came as a real surprise.
Latvian ice hockey league 2016-17
The 2016-17 season in Latvian hockey league was surprisingly exciting, there were four teams which were equal in strength - HK MOGO, HK Kurbads, HK Zemgale, HK Liepāja. For me the biggest surprise in regular season was HK Zemgale which was coached by Haralds Vasiļjevs former Krefeld Pinguine and Latvian NT coach. HK Zemgale turned beyond recognition and at some point was at lead in the regular season, there's no doubt about who was the best coach in the 2016-17 season, Haralds Vasiļjevs extorted maximum potential from the mediocre roster and ended regular season as third.
Regular season results
First two teams in regular season automatically granted place in play-off half finals, but teams from 3rd to 6th place played a quarterfinal (qualification) rounds. The half final round confirmed that in this season were 4 equal strength teams and Champion title contenders HK MOGO and HK Kurbads had a hard time.
Final series which made history
This 2016-17 season Latvian ice hockey league play-off final series was very eventful, thrilling and with a Hollywood worthy screenplay. From real desperation losing 0:3 HK Kurbads made unbelievable comeback and won the first champion title in game 7, where Edgars Brancis scored a game winning goal at 57:06 minutes played. HK Kurbads was final series runner-ups in 2013-14 against HK Prizma, 2014-15 against HK MOGO, 2015-16 against HK Liepāja, Latvian Cup runner ups in 2015-16, 2016-17 against HK MOGO and HK Kurbads got a nickname - forever second. This was the first time in Latvian ice hockey history for a team to comeback from 0:3 in final series and win a title.
Latvian ice hockey league is amateur league where players work in their jobs at the day, but trains in hockey at night, we won't ever know what does it takes to lose in 5 finals and to comeback from desperate 0:3 and win the Champion title. Since season 1991-92 teams from hometown Ogre has played in 11 final series and 10 times any of Ogre team have been beaten and as a sad fact this could be the last season where a team from Ogre participates in a Latvian ice hockey league, because HK Kurbads is constructing own ice rink - an excellent farewell.
2016-17 Latvian ice hockey league final series
Big year in ice rink construction
Mārupes hokeja halle (Riga suburb)
At January 29, 2017 in Mārupe were opened Mārupes Ledus halle which was first built ice rink in almost 10 years. Mārupe was a good place to build a new ice rink for it's growing population and population density, the fact that Mārupe is suburb of Riga makes this rink very desirable for new kids to start training in hockey.
The people who organized construction and is starting organizing hockey in Mārupe is very ambitious and has the highest plans to become the best hockey school in country. The rinks capacity is 250 seats and 100 standing rooms, which is optimal to maintain as low as possible maintenance expenses.
Rumbulas hokeja halle (Riga)
2016-17 Latvian league champions HK Kurbads home arena is planned to open in May, 2017 and will be the new home for HK Kurbads. There will be standard 58m x 28m ice rink with 540 seats and 460 standing rooms.
Ledus halle Daugava (Rīga)
Due to life threatening conditions the ledus halle Daugava has been closed in October 31, 2016. This decision was very painful for every athlete who participated in ice hockey, figure skating because season was already started and athletes lost the place for practice without a warning. This closure seems to be final till entire sports complex Daugava with indoor athletics hall, football and athletics stadium, ice rink and other infrastructure will be reconstructed, in this sports complex. The new ice rink is foreseen to be open in 2021.
Read the related articles:
See the - full map of ice rinks in Latvia and full registered ice hockey player list since 1995-96 season;
Read - Hockey in Latvia, season 2015-16.
Regular season results - lhf.lv;
Play-off results - lhf.lv.
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