Former SJ Shark to represent Latvia
BY: Jeff Schneberk
Arturs Irbe used to be the biggest name out of the country of Latvia to play professional hockey.
And he still remains to be today.
Team Latvia concludes my 2014 Winter Olympic hockey preview and what a pleasure it has been to write about teams I never knew existed.
Irbe’s teammate with the San Jose Sharks, Sandis Ozolinsh has been invited to skate for his country too, reports TSN.
There are a few Latvian-born NHLers but they are the ones most of us have never heard of unless you research each and every team over and over.
The Sabres have representation, the Senators have representation.
Latvia is another nation that was forced to qualify through group play.
The Latvian team, which entered qualification ranked 11th in the world, beat out France, Great Britain and Kazakhstan to qualify for Sochi.
Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons and former Ottawa Senator Kaspars Daugavins headline the Latvian roster.
The complete roster is as follows:
Goaltenders: Kristers Gudlevskis, Edgars Masalskis, Ervins Mustukovs.
Defence: Oskars Bartulis, Ralfs Freibergs, Arturs Kulda, Sandis Ozolinsh, Georgijs Pujacs, Krisjanis Redlihs, Arvids Rekis, Kristaps Sotnieks.
Forwards: Armands Berzins, Martins Cipulis, Lauris Darzins,Kaspars Daugavins, Zemgus Girgensons, Miks Indrasis, Koba Jass,Martins Karsums, Ronalds Kenins, Vitalijs Pavlovs, Mikelis Redlihs,Janis Sprukts, Juris Stals, Herberts Vasiljevs.
Latvia will play out of Group C in Sochi alongside the Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland.
2010 finish: finished in 12th place, lost to the Czech Republic 3-2 in OT in the qualification playoffs.
2014 predictions: fourth place in Group C.
Next Opponent: Sat, February 15th 12 noon.