Today (Sunday, Aug. 28) I took the opportunity to meet four Latvia Men's National ice hockey team (Latvia NT) players - Zemgus Girgensons, Kristers Gudlevsksis, Arturs Kulda and Ralfs Freibergs in the Hockey Day event. Hockey fans was able to meet players, take pictures with them, get autographs and to record best wishes for team in the upcoming Olympic Qualification round in Riga, Latvia.
I was skeptical from the very beginning about Latvian NT chances to qualify for 2018 Winter Olympic games. You ask, why I'm skeptical about this? Latvian ice hockey federation (LHF) attitude and bad team management which has formed bad micro climate between LHF and team itself which resulted in a resigning of a Latvian NT head coach Leonids Beresnevs just before the tournament. It's ironic that I read about this just after I returned home from a Hockey Day event. While Japan, Germany and Austria are training and playing friendly games, Latvians came together only today (Sunday, Aug. 28) and there is only one scheduled friendly game before this Olympic Qualification tournament against Denmark on Aug. 30th.
Every one of three tournament games will be high importance but the first game against Austria I foresee as 50/50 game due to Latvian NT lack of played games and time of practice. Latvians lost 3:6 at the 2013 Ice Hockey World Championships (WCh) and won 2:1 in overtime at the 2015 WCh.
No matter the result of the first game against Austria if Latvian NT will lose the game against the Japan, none would understand this. The last time teams met were in the 2015 friendly game which ended 5:4. The first and only loss in 11 played games were in 2002 and the game ended 2:3.
If we look at the previous results against Germany at WCh from 2012-2015 - 3:2; 0:2; 2:3; 1:2 - those games were close and any of them could end different but it seems, that Germans has learned how to beat Latvians. Germany are coming to Latvia with professional attitude and very high hopes but my hopes no mater what will always be for my team - Latvia. All the best wishes and may the all mighty hockey gods will be with us on the ice.
The Hockey day event went well despite the limited time it had. Of course I was preparing very seriously for this day. I analyzed what players could be there and searched for hockey cards to get autographs on, Girgensons check, Gudlevskis check, Kenins check, bunch of Dinamo Riga cards check and I'm ready to go. But at the most important moment when I searched bag for collected hockey cards the half of them wasn't there. The one which I wanted the most - Gudlevskis card stayed at home, how unfortunate can I be. When will be that next time I can meet him? Ahh, such a disappointment.
Trade cards with me