Latvian hockey on the rise?
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09-14-2012, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Originally Posted by
Not really. Yes, in the nineties and early 00's hockey got too expensive and a lot of traditional hockey hotbeds dried up, so it has led to the point that your average-to-decent Ukrainian player chose to rather play in Romania than in Ukraine. Thus the local league competition was basically amateur and it got no press attention or sponsorship money. Basically poor teams played in tired arenas with tiny crowds. Even the countries flagship team has been on the verge of bankrupcy for years.
This year Ukraine's NT managed for the first time in their history get relegated to third division and again a new low was set. U18 and U20 teams are third tier teams for a while when in the early nineties all Ukrainian teams played in Elite tiers.
All this in more detail is covered in Ukrainian hockey threads on this board so I won't repeat myself again, but the tide slowly is changing (largely thanks to Donetsk), but in reality it will take years for Ukraine to catch up with the teams they once were equal or even better - I mean teams like Latvia, Denmark or even France and Slovenia.
btw, the only place in the world hockey is viewed as commie/Russian sport is Estonia.
In order for hockey to succeed in Ukraine I think Kiev needs a successful team with 5-7 Ukrainians who actually play and showcase younger, homegrown Ukrainian talent by developing their own prospects, etc. I've never been to Ukraine, but from what I gather Kiev is the most influencial and most populous city in Ukraine. It is very necessary that hockey succeed here if the NT ever wishes to succeed and if hockey wants to grow at a meaningful rate. It's great to see Varlamov, Kvitchenko and Kasyanchuk all (re-)enter the KHL this year, but more than 4 Ukrainians will need to play at the top level if they want to see the KHL make a difference in Ukrainian hockey.
Also, why is hockey seen as a Commie/Russian sport in Estonia?
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