One of last season’s top National Hockey League (NHL) teams – Phoenix ‘Coyotes’, which posted the fifth best record in the league, will play Latvian ice hockey club Riga ‘Dinamo’, which plays in the Kontinental Ice Hockey League (KHL). The Latvian club has qualified for the KHL playoffs the past two seasons, and will be no pushover for the NHL powerhouse.
This game will be a great opportunity for sports fans and guests of Riga to see legendary Latvian defender Sandis Ozolins, who is a Stanley Cup winner and a seven-time NHL All-Star, play against some of the top NHL stars. The Phoenix ‘Coyotes’ feature such players as Russian national team goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, Canadian national team forward Shane Doan, Canadian defender Ed Jovanovski and others.
People attending this game will be able to feel what ice hockey means to Latvia. Since 1997, when the Latvian national men’s ice hockey returned to the world’s Elite Division, where it has remained all these years, thousands of Latvian ice hockey fans make the pilgrimage to wherever the Ice Hockey World Championships are being held that year, where they are marveled by locals and opposing ice hockey fans alike for their passion and never ending support for their beloved ice hockey team. The Latvian hockey fans have even been recognized as the KHL’s best fans for the past two seasons.
The game between Riga ‘Dinamo’ and the Phoenix ‘Coyotes’ is being organized in cooperation with the NHL and the KHL, as Riga was not chosen to host the game by accident. Allowing Riga to host this exhibition game is a gesture of gratitude to Latvian ice hockey fans for maintaining an unbelievable atmosphere in the arena during Riga ‘Dinamo’ home games all season long.
Having a discussion during the game will be impossible, as over 11,000 Riga ‘Dinamo’ ice hockey fans, dressed in team gear, will be cheering their team on with chants and songs. So if you want to see how much Latvia loves ice hockey, we suggest you be in ‘Arena Riga’ on October 6.