Friday , June 2 2023

Latvia together with Estonia and Lithuania undertook to organize Baltic hockey league next season – Ice hockey – Sportacentrs.com



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LHF President Aigars Kalvītis, LHF Sport Director Edgars Buncis, President of the Lithuanian Ice Hockey Federation Dainis Zubrus, and President of the Estonian Hockey Federation Rauno Parrass jointly announced the goals for holding the Baltic Cup next season, while maintaining the current status of the participants in the press conference in Vilnius, where LHF President Aigars Kalvītis is currently taking part in the Baltic Hockey Challenge. the composition of the Latvian clubs, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Belarus and Japan. Next season this tournament will be held in Latvia, but in the next season – in Estonia.

However, the main statement at the press conference was the creation of a Baltic club league. Buncis pointed out that this idea was supported, as such a league could boost fans' interest in local hockey and create more competition in the Baltics.

It is planned that there will be eight teams in the Baltic League, four of which will be from Latvia. Buncis said that the Baltic League will be segregated from local competitions in the first season and should be considered as a separate tournament. The planned season starts in October, when the teams dividing into two sub groups will play two rounds tournament, followed by the Final Four tournament scheduled for December, and will be hosted by Latvia, most likely in Riga.

Calvitis explained in his address that the Latvian ice hockey is very interested in cooperating with the closest neighbors and other countries. He believes that good work has already been done to expand the geography of the Baltic Cup, while the Baltic Hockey League will be a good product for all hockey fans in the Baltic States. Kalvītis also thanked the presidents of the Lithuanian and Estonian federations for their support for the implementation of this idea.

"We are also pleased with this announcement, because the idea was worked out for a good time," said the Lithuanian hockey legend Zubrus. "This is a big step forward for Lithuania. We want the young players of Lithuania to remain on the hockey, and the presence and participation of such a tournament can help them stay in the sport. We have problems in Lithuania, there are not many cartoons, but we felt the support in the development of this idea. Of course, Latvia is the strongest hockey in this competition, but this is a great opportunity for us to play at a higher level. All clubs expressed their support, and we are only seeing positive aspects here. "

In turn, the President of the Estonian Federation Parrass noted that there was a long discussion about how to make this league a real event: "Now we have a concrete plan on how to start a league and how to organize it, and thus there are opportunities for further development. This is the first step when the club has guaranteed six games in the season, but maybe in the future they will be 40 in each season. Hockey in Estonia is growing, but this is not the first sport in the country. Now, this opportunity to play with the Latvians who have such a hockey player is very beneficial to us. Thanks to my colleagues for being up and running. "

Kalvitis was asked if he does not consider that in the first season all the finalists will be formed by Latvian teams, to which he replied with a smile that, hopefully not. "But in sport there is an important competition and the fact that wins the strongest. I think the tournament format is very good to be a real fight for the finalist. Of course, as the organizer, I hope that the final will be representatives of all three countries, "said Calvitis.

After the press conference in a discussion with Sportacentrs.com, Buncis explained that the goal is to bring together the strongest teams of all three national championships in the Baltic League, respectively The four qualifiers for the Optibet League semi-finals and the Lithuanian and Estonian finals will qualify for the Baltic League. The participation of Latvian teams in the Baltic League can be influenced by the club's own wishes and the participation of the championship in the Continental Cup, Buncis explained.

In the championship this season, four teams and season's inauguration in Elektrenai's "Energija", under the strong leadership, are in the second place, while Kaunas Hockey is in second place. Also in the highest league in Estonia there are four teams – multiple champion Narva PSK, last season's champion Tallinn Viking, Tartu Kalev-Valk and Everest.

Information is being updated

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