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09-16-2012, 04:14 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Riga
Country: Latvia
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I think the biggest problem for Belarus and Ukraine is the (especially) youth coaches' salaries and the countries proximity to Russia...

I'm not saying that in Latvia kids and youth coaches get high salaries, definitely not, but what I've heard from our coaches is that in Belarus the coaches who work with small kids and early teens receive laughable salaries... and as their mother tongue is Russian and the mentality is about the same, they rather move to Russia, to big hockey schools to coach there and students from local universities who themselves are still learning hockey come in their place... That's why if one looks at Belarus and sees the ice arenas being built, the money invested in equipment etc. and strong national league and support from the president, he wonders why youth hockey in Latvia is still better than in Belarus, as we donn't have a league at all here... but it's all in coaching, the situation is far from ideal and not even that good in Latvia but as I've heard it's catastrophy in Belarus or Ukraine. You can have a 100 arenas in the country but if there are no good coaches, you won't achieve anything.

The current rise in number of talents in Latvian can probably be explained by the fact that the arenas built up in early 2000s are giving their first crop of players, also economic situation improved in Latvia all the time while these guys grew up 9except last few years) so coaches had better financial situation and more and better equipment was bought... Let's see how it will look with age group of youngsters born 2002, 2003, as they would take up hockey as economic crisis hit- how many of them are there (hoe many parents could afford to send their kids to hockey trainings) and how good they'll be?

But the following few years, from what I've seen and heard, age group 1994-1997 look very good.

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