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Latvian hockey on the rise?

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Old
09-23-2012, 07:34 AM
  #51
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About popularity it's offcourse a difference between popularity of choice of sport and popularity of media/number of fans. Some sports are popular as a professional sport with fans attached to clubs or individual sport stars and some are popular purely as recreation. If you see this top-10 of membership popularity by choice of sport from Denmark in 2003 you will be surprised to see gymnastics as second (purely recreational, we havent had a gymnastic star since the 1930's-1940's i think), while football, handball and badminton are leading pro-sports beside being recreational. Tennis is also very big but mostly recreational with very few danish tennis stars through time. Hockey only have a membership of 4.000 in comparison.

1. Football (292.973)
2. Gymnastics (148.384)
3. Handbold (134.782)
4. Badminton (128.297)
5. Svimming (122.924)
6. Golf (104.006)
7. Tennis (73.268)
8. Riding (72.856)
9. Sailing (55.351)
10. Shooting (46.999)
This is exactly the point i was trying to explain to Ozo.

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09-23-2012, 07:36 AM
  #52
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Which is OK for good technical forwards, but you need a defence that can withstand "monster"-forwards....Latvia and Denmark's achilles heal.
Yeah and it`s funny tho we`ve got this barrage of skillfull forwards comming our way but no 190cm skilled Defencemen for now its not a problem,in the best roster possible latvian d looks great,but later if things don`t change we might run in to some problems.

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09-23-2012, 07:50 AM
  #53
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Originally Posted by Helo View Post
This is exactly the point i was trying to explain to Ozo.
Does there exist any list of membership for Latvian sports? Maybe also for Lithuania or Estonia for that matter. Maybe membership could end up being more similar than people think and its the media/fan popularity that really differs?

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09-23-2012, 07:55 AM
  #54
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Originally Posted by Justinov View Post
Does there exist any list of membership for Latvian sports? Maybe also for Lithuania or Estonia for that matter. Maybe membership could end up being more similar than people think and its the media/fan popularity that really differs?
Could be as i said,Latvian National hockey team in Olympics is going to get alot more exposure and hype than anyother sporting event.

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09-23-2012, 09:03 AM
  #55
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This is exactly the point i was trying to explain to Ozo.
So you are saying that I didn't acknowladge that? Still my point is that basketball is multiple times more popular with kids than hockey is. Basta. From every ten kids practising sports on a daily basis only one could be a hockey player, the remaining ten are either playing football or basketball.

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09-23-2012, 11:10 AM
  #56
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Originally Posted by ozo View Post
So you are saying that I didn't acknowladge that? Still my point is that basketball is multiple times more popular with kids than hockey is. Basta. From every ten kids practising sports on a daily basis only one could be a hockey player, the remaining ten are either playing football or basketball.
Interesting so it seems in Lithuania were basketball is like religion amongst youth and adults a similar trend is emerging in Latvia?

Nice win by Latvian team who finished 6th in tournament :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMiKoWS_f9E

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09-23-2012, 11:23 AM
  #57
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Originally Posted by wings5 View Post
Interesting so it seems in Lithuania were basketball is like religion amongst youth and adults a similar trend is emerging in Latvia?
Nop, our religion is hockey, but simply it isn't that easy to practise this religion with 15 arenas in whole country.

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10-28-2012, 07:33 PM
  #58
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How are people feeling about Latvia's youth roster for this year's WC?

I myself am not Latvian, but have spent a year living there and still speak the language and root for Latvia in international play. And now with the NHL lockout I am following Dinamo very closely...which hasnt been so fun!

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10-30-2012, 04:55 PM
  #59
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Interesting so it seems in Lithuania were basketball is like religion amongst youth and adults a similar trend is emerging in Latvia?
It is not emerging. Basketball has always been very popular here. After all in the beginning of 30s we were the first in Europe to play official game between national teams (Latvia vs Estonia), one of the 7 first founding members of FIBA and the 1st European champions in 1935... The second one, in Riga 1937, was won by Lithuanians and in 1939 the event took place in Kaunas where Lithuania barely won in the final. Almost all people (including me) still think that Lithuanian referees cheated with play time during the final seconds of that game that allowed them to win. There was even an international scandal between the two countries because of it in 1939.

Then in early 1960s ASK Riga club was dominating European club championships in basketball. Certainly still in 60s hockey lost in popularity to basketball. Then came Balderis and pretty much he and Tikhonov, along with some internal struggles in basketball community in Latvia (with VEF emerging next to ASK as the top club), lifted hockey up to the prominence.

The next time basketball was dangerously close to hockey in popularity was at 2006-2007, before KHL where we didn't have strong hockey league or a strong hockey club, while some Latvian basketball league games (between arch rivals in Riga, Barons Riga and ASK Riga) could draw about 6000 or bit more spectators in Arena Riga, if we played Zalgiris or Rytas in Baltic league, even packed arena... But again, then came Dinamo Riga and some problems in basketball community started with unmotivated players etc. and hockey again was nr. 1 on all fronts.


Though if you look at national federation revenues in Latvia then football is obviously nr.1 due to FIFA being so rich and giving their federations big amounts of money, basketball is nr.2 and it's still the most loved 'government' sport and hockey is nowhere near these two (also probably because the lobby is not working as Lipmans' federation is sh** compared to basketball).

Basketball is a strong competitor, Andris Biedrins drafted 11 at 2004 NBA Entry draft is still the highest drafted Latvian in North American professional leagues and Dairis Bertāns holds nr.4 spot behind Zemgus and Ozolins, selected 42 at 2011 NBA Entry draft. Of course they are the only two drafted players but NBA draft also has only 2 rounds, so... And some oter good youngsters are growing up. But the same can be said about hockey now.

But in short: basketball has always been up there, close to hockey or in past even more popular, and no doubt there are still people in Latvia who would consider it to be nr.1 instead of hockey just because it is played by pretty much every young kid growing up in Latvia. I was on my highschool's basketball team (sucking badly at center) but my only relation to hockey is love for it and the fact that I can stand on skates... The funny thing is that 90% of hockey fans in Latvia are probably better at basketball than hockey

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10-30-2012, 05:07 PM
  #60
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Originally Posted by nabbyfan View Post
How are people feeling about Latvia's youth roster for this year's WC?
Absolutely best offense ever- Zemgus from AHL, Klavins from Elitserien, Blugers from NCAA, Lipsbergs, Kulda- WHL, Jevpalovs- QMJHL, Kuzmenkovs tearing it up in Dinamo farm club in Belarus league, being the team's leader, MHL kids from HK Riga are better statistically than last year's crop at this time of year and if you compare last year's team to this one, offense is better by miles...

Goalkeeping should be ok- Merzlikins has a contract with Swiss NLA club and has been dressed up as their 2nd goalie already, though not sure about the level at which 2nd and 3rd goalies can play.

Defense- nothing really spectacular, Siksna from Liepajas Metalurgs should be good, Rosinskis plays in WHL but no points, maybe good as stay at home but haven't seen... other kids play in MHL or MHL B division. Even so, still shouldn't be worse than last year.

Prognosis- I believe we can win Germany and should strive for it. Could aim at upsetting Slovaks but in any case even if the team is better than last year, still will be tough against the top dogs. Next year we should even be better, with 1994s maturing one more year... Still if we could give fight to Slovaks and Swiss last year, why not this year try to win???

Biggest surprises in WJC: Bukarts from HK Riga, Kuzmenkovs from Metalurgs Liepāja. Just because everyone will look at drafted Zemgus and Blugers and CHL guys, while 2014 draft prospect Bukarts is among leaders in HK Riga already and Kuzmenkovs has been simply great in Dinamo farm team...

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10-31-2012, 09:26 AM
  #61
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Originally Posted by Latgale_fan View Post
It is not emerging. Basketball has always been very popular here. After all in the beginning of 30s we were the first in Europe to play official game between national teams (Latvia vs Estonia), one of the 7 first founding members of FIBA and the 1st European champions in 1935... The second one, in Riga 1937, was won by Lithuanians and in 1939 the event took place in Kaunas where Lithuania barely won in the final. Almost all people (including me) still think that Lithuanian referees cheated with play time during the final seconds of that game that allowed them to win. There was even an international scandal between the two countries because of it in 1939.

Then in early 1960s ASK Riga club was dominating European club championships in basketball. Certainly still in 60s hockey lost in popularity to basketball. Then came Balderis and pretty much he and Tikhonov, along with some internal struggles in basketball community in Latvia (with VEF emerging next to ASK as the top club), lifted hockey up to the prominence.

The next time basketball was dangerously close to hockey in popularity was at 2006-2007, before KHL where we didn't have strong hockey league or a strong hockey club, while some Latvian basketball league games (between arch rivals in Riga, Barons Riga and ASK Riga) could draw about 6000 or bit more spectators in Arena Riga, if we played Zalgiris or Rytas in Baltic league, even packed arena... But again, then came Dinamo Riga and some problems in basketball community started with unmotivated players etc. and hockey again was nr. 1 on all fronts.


Though if you look at national federation revenues in Latvia then football is obviously nr.1 due to FIFA being so rich and giving their federations big amounts of money, basketball is nr.2 and it's still the most loved 'government' sport and hockey is nowhere near these two (also probably because the lobby is not working as Lipmans' federation is sh** compared to basketball).

Basketball is a strong competitor, Andris Biedrins drafted 11 at 2004 NBA Entry draft is still the highest drafted Latvian in North American professional leagues and Dairis Bertāns holds nr.4 spot behind Zemgus and Ozolins, selected 42 at 2011 NBA Entry draft. Of course they are the only two drafted players but NBA draft also has only 2 rounds, so... And some oter good youngsters are growing up. But the same can be said about hockey now.

But in short: basketball has always been up there, close to hockey or in past even more popular, and no doubt there are still people in Latvia who would consider it to be nr.1 instead of hockey just because it is played by pretty much every young kid growing up in Latvia. I was on my highschool's basketball team (sucking badly at center) but my only relation to hockey is love for it and the fact that I can stand on skates... The funny thing is that 90% of hockey fans in Latvia are probably better at basketball than hockey
Great post with a lot of historical info.
Fascinating about basketball in Latvia and Lithuania. Maybe it was that local derby that fueled the popularity over the years?
I wasn't even good enough to be on the highschool basketball team, but then again they became Danish and Nordic Champions and played at the EC in Israel (I seem to remember). so I went for the volleyball team instead and proudly went out in the group stage.

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10-31-2012, 01:10 PM
  #62
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Great post with a lot of historical info.
Fascinating about basketball in Latvia and Lithuania. Maybe it was that local derby that fueled the popularity over the years?
The derby certainly fuels the popularity even now. If Žalgiris or Lithuanian NT is coming to Riga then suddenly there's a big increase in popularity of the sport. But now basketball is probably at the lowest popularity level since late 90s, as some NT members discredited themselves with drinking and hooliganism during preparation for European Championship few years ago and were disqualified, and now the federation is trying to build a new team, free from past sins with bad discipline and bad example to youth but it's not going that well.

Though now basketball is in the position to try to regain popularity again, as there's only one powerhouse in Riga again, VEF Riga, that's playing in a similar league as KHL called VTB United League, where such great teams as CSKA Moscow, Rytas, Žalgiris and other Russian and foreign teams are playing. Their budget is also few million euros and they're playing pretty good... though attendance is bad and only thing people love to go to in Riga is Dinamo.

But if we look in history basketball has always shot itself in a leg, so to say, and let hockey take the limelight because there have often been strong local rivalries in Riga and because of them no single really strong club could emerge in Latvia as money and player resources were split. It has been like that from the very beginning- in 30s there was ASK Riga vs US Riga rivalry, then after 60s brief period of ASK as a superclub there appeared VEF Riga and again there was local rivalry. Then before the economic crisis arguably both my favourite team Barons Riga and ASK Riga, could together raise a budget not that far off what Dinamo has now, but instead there was this local rivalry instead of one big club playing at good level. Now VEF Riga is alone ruling in Riga and Latvia basketball so maybe something will come out of this.

Then again if Dinamo keeps winning SKA in St.Petersburg 4:3 like today vs Kovalchuk from time to time, nothing can help basketball imho

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11-01-2012, 11:53 AM
  #63
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Originally Posted by Latgale_fan View Post
Then again if Dinamo keeps winning SKA in St.Petersburg 4:3 like today vs Kovalchuk from time to time, nothing can help basketball imho
Well Dinamo Riga has started so badly so "HF boards - Eastern Europe" only have a Donbas Donetsk thread and no Dinamo Riga thread
Maybe this result could change that?! Winning over Kovalchuk and Thoresen is no small feat!
So we can conclude that basketball is a Latvian consolation sport when latvian hockey disappoints

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11-02-2012, 03:23 PM
  #64
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Well Dinamo Riga has started so badly so "HF boards - Eastern Europe" only have a Donbas Donetsk thread and no Dinamo Riga thread
Maybe this result could change that?!
That's cause the Riga thread is in the KHL section, where it should be, and where it's always near the top.

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11-03-2012, 12:01 PM
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That's cause the Riga thread is in the KHL section, where it should be, and where it's always near the top.
I know, that's why I made the but thanks anyways for the response. You are right that the numbers of replies and views is quite high!

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12-05-2012, 11:35 AM
  #66
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One player that is on his rise is goalie Ervins Mustukovs.
http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=13476
After leaving the danish league and playing for Mora he started the season with an injury, but has come back with style.
Viasat chose him for the team of the weak in Allsvenskan based on that weeks three matches and 88 saves out of 91 shots (pretty impressive).
http://www.hockeysverige.se/article/...iasat-femma-11

Where Mustukovs left the danish league has received Edgars Lusins, who now plays for Copenhagen Hockey (the by far worst team in the league). Former KHL'er from Dinamo Riga (ok only 4 matches 2010-11), and best goalie from Latvian league 2008-09.
Copenhagen Hockey is a great team for goalie practice, if you don't let your confidence by broken by the amount of goals you will receive behind you. So see if he can rebound his career from Denmark as Mustukovs did.

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12-05-2012, 10:39 PM
  #67
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Originally Posted by Justinov View Post
One player that is on his rise is goalie Ervins Mustukovs.
http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=13476
After leaving the danish league and playing for Mora he started the season with an injury, but has come back with style.
Viasat chose him for the team of the weak in Allsvenskan based on that weeks three matches and 88 saves out of 91 shots (pretty impressive).
http://www.hockeysverige.se/article/...iasat-femma-11

Where Mustukovs left the danish league has received Edgars Lusins, who now plays for Copenhagen Hockey (the by far worst team in the league). Former KHL'er from Dinamo Riga (ok only 4 matches 2010-11), and best goalie from Latvian league 2008-09.
Copenhagen Hockey is a great team for goalie practice, if you don't let your confidence by broken by the amount of goals you will receive behind you. So see if he can rebound his career from Denmark as Mustukovs did.
That is great but as i have always said Mustukovs is goint to have to be promoted to Elitserien if he wants to be anywhere near the NT (cause we already have 2 good khl goalies)

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12-06-2012, 09:53 AM
  #68
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That is great but as i have always said Mustukovs is goint to have to be promoted to Elitserien if he wants to be anywhere near the NT (cause we already have 2 good khl goalies)
Yeah but at least he is going in the right direction England -> Denmark -> Allsvenskan, not the other way.
He can also brag about being on the same team as Anze Kopitar and Bobby Ryan, and that you don't find in elitserien these days.

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12-07-2012, 03:24 AM
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That is great but as i have always said Mustukovs is goint to have to be promoted to Elitserien if he wants to be anywhere near the NT (cause we already have 2 good khl goalies)
Who are they?

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12-07-2012, 02:07 PM
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Who are they?
Edgars Masaļskis and Māris Jučers

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12-08-2012, 06:20 AM
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Edgars Masaļskis and Māris Jučers
These are two good KHL goalies, really?

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12-08-2012, 06:23 AM
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These are two good KHL goalies, really?
Yeah maybe jucers has not been doing good recently because he had no game practice,but what do you have against Masalskis?

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12-08-2012, 07:29 AM
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Yeah maybe jucers has not been doing good recently because he had no game practice,but what do you have against Masalskis?
Well his .907 career save percentage speaks volumes. VHL and other leagues all over Europe are packed with goalies better than Masalskis who only got his shot at the KHL because of his nationality. He's ok backup with experience and clutch ability but still well bellow league average.

All these things aside, he's obviously Latvia's best at the moment but I can't see why Mustukovs couldn't give Jucers a run for his money. I think it's stupid not to let him "anywhere near the NT" just because he never really had a shot at the KHL with Dinamo while Jucers did.

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12-08-2012, 07:33 AM
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Well his .907 career save percentage speaks volumes. VHL and other leagues all over Europe are packed with goalies better than Masalskis who only got his shot at the KHL because of his nationality. He's ok backup with experience and clutch ability but still well bellow league average.

All these things aside, he's obviously Latvia's best at the moment but I can't see why Mustukovs couldn't give Jucers a run for his money. I think it's stupid not to let him "anywhere near the NT" just because he never really had a shot at the KHL with Dinamo while Jucers did.
BS,he has been great last couple of games for yugra,the save percentages prove nothing,did you eve see Masalskis in the last play offs for yugra he was waay better thank biryukov.

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12-08-2012, 07:50 AM
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BS,he has been great last couple of games for yugra,the save percentages prove nothing,did you eve see Masalskis in the last play offs for yugra he was waay better thank biryukov.
That undoubtedly is true, he's been really solid in the playoffs for both Yugra and Dinamo.

Career save percentage is great indication how good goalie is in the long run, though. There are many nights when Masalskis looks just too small to stop anything. If his defenders give opposing forwards enough time to snipe it he's as good as done. That's why he thrives in playoff matches where teams play really tight and with maximal concentration.

Although just to say it another time, this discussion should have nothing to do with Masalskis.

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