Hockey Canada Network |
News
Latvia's Biggest Hockey Rivalry

PRAGUE – Usually beating Canada would be the highlight of World Championship for a county like Latvia.

Not necessarily so, says goalie Arturs Irbe.

Canada falls a distant second to Russia.

Latvia is the next country on Canada’s radar screen in its defence of the world title won last year in Helsinki. They play on Friday when the competition resumes with the qualifying round. Canada is 3-0-1 against Latvia, including two wins and a tie at the world championship.

Irbe was in goal when Latvia beat Russia in Russia in at the 2000 tournament. It marked the first time Latvia beat Russia and the triumph just happen to coincide with Latvia’s independence day.

Latvia became a separate country in 1991 following the collapse of the Communist Soviet Union, a country Irbe called the “evil empire.”

“It was good for soul, including myself and I do not think I have really cried in my whole career by winning games or winning tournaments but that was the one game I cried and I am not in any way ashamed of it,” Irbe said on the eve of the Latvia-Canada game.

“That was the proudest moment being a Latvian as far as I can remember in my whole life. It (beating Canada) would be big but you can’t compare those two teams. It (beating Russia) is more sticking it to the oppressors and we have been oppressed for so long.”

“It (resentment towards Russia) is in our hearts and bodies and our soul and it does not have to be taught. It is just thereand when you play them you want to beat them and you know what it means for the coach, for the relatives and for the ones that havesuffered during the Gulag (prisons) and all the oppressed years.”

If Latvia was to prevail, Irbe would be the main reason why. He’s capable of stealing a game.

As far as Canada is concerned, they can’t worry about Irbe.
“We have to find a way to get through the neutral zone (with speed). The teams over here like to clog it up,” said Coach Mike Babcock. “We’ll have a real chance to be successful if we do that.”


For more information:

André Brin
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4557
abrin@hockeycanada.ca

Francis Dupont
Manager, Media Relations/Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4564
fdupont@hockeycanada.ca

Jason LaRose
Manager, Content Services
Hockey Canada
403-777-4553
jlarose@hockeycanada.ca

Kristen Lipscombe
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6427
klipscombe@hockeycanada.ca

Keegan Goodrich
Coordinator, Media
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
kgoodrich@hockeycanada.ca

facebook.com/hockeycanada

twitter.com/hockeycanada

youtube.com/hockeycanadavideos

Videos
Photos
2014 WWU18C: CAN 5 – USA 1
Mar 30, 2014
U18 women win gold.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 1 – RUS 0 (OT)
Mar 29, 2014
Canada edges Russia in overtime.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 5 – CZE 0
Mar 26, 2014
Canadians shut out Czechs.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 7 – FIN 0
Mar 24, 2014
U18 women blank Finland.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 7 – JPN 1
Mar 23, 2014
Canada starts Worlds with win
2014 PARA: CAN 3 – NOR 0 (Bronze)
Mar 15, 2014
Billy Bridges scored a pair of goals to lead Canada to a Paralympic bronze.
2014 PARA: USA 3 – CAN 0 (Semifinal)
Mar 13, 2014
Corbin Watson made seven saves, but Canada will play for Paralympic bronze.
2014 PARA: CAN 1 – CZE 0 (Preliminary)
Mar 11, 2014
Westlake scored the lone goal to help Canada to a perfect preliminary round.
2014 PARA: CAN 4 – NOR 0 (Preliminary)
Mar 09, 2014
Adam Dixon scored twice to lead Canada to its second straight win in Sochi.
2014 PARA: CAN 10 – SWE 1 (Preliminary)
Mar 08, 2014
Gale, Dixon and Rempel had four points each to lead Canada to a win.
2014 PARA: Welcome to Sochi
Mar 02, 2014
Canada’s National Sledge Team has arrived ahead of the Paralympics.
2010 OLYW: Flag Raising
Feb 10, 2010
Canada's National Women's Team taking part in the Flag Raising ceremony at the Olympic Village in Vancouver, B.C.
Schedule
Close
Credit  
Close
Photo Credit: