Latvian League in trouble

Latvian League in trouble

Davide Tuniz11 Jun 2020Davide Tuniz»

The effect of Covid-19 outbreak can affect the next Latvian League


At the end of April the Latvian hockey community was shocked when knew that powerful HK Kurbads Riga would not play in the next league leaving the domestic scenario without one of the major investors in the Latvian League, in a country where the interest for icehockey is huge but just at top level, namely the national team and the Dinamo Riga. Now another heavy blow can be dealt to the Optibet Hokeja Liga after the declaration of Eriks Miluns, coach of Prizma Riga, announcing the more than likely renunciation of the club to participate in the next championship. "The decision depends largely on the funding available to the club. Let's see. At the moment, we have not fully decided whether to play in the League. We are judging the usefulness of the senior team ...Let's see how the situation develops both in the world and within the organization."

Founded in 1996, Prizma Riga is one of the most active hockey school with a good tradition in revealing players such as Armands Bērziņš, Edijs Brahmanis, Guntis Galviņš, Mārtiņš Karsums, Miķelis Rēdlihs, Kaspars Daugaviņš, Ralfs Freibergs with a record of five former players drafted in NHL: Jekabs Redlihs, Krisjanis Redlihs, Armands Berzins, Rodrigo Abols and Arturs Kulda plus goalie Matiss Kivlenieks signed by Blue Jackets.

The possible waiver of Prizma, the certain of Kurbads are not the only problems facing the league: due to the Covid-19 outbreak, many municipalities cut the budget for the sport clubs and it's now very difficult to attract sponsors. Olimp Riga, a team created last season that attracted many well-known players and was declared champion by Federation when the league was stopped due the pandemic after the end of regular season, didn't show signs of life since April in social media and it's uncertain whether it will participate.The only team by now to release information about next season is HK Liepaja, finished fourth last season, announcing a changement in coaching staff.

"If the Optibet League does take place, the biggest headache for clubs will be raising funding.The biggest winners will be those teams that have already received the support of the municipality" said Miluns

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