Latvia is off to a bad start in the 2011 World Championship of ice hockey, getting trounced in its first match of the tournament and losing defenseman Artūrs Kulda, who has been suspended for three games for a body-check that sent a Czech player to the hospital.
The championship, sponsored by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and being played in Slovakia, runs through May 15.
During the first period of the April 30 preliminary game round between Latvia and the Czech Republic, Kulda checked defenseman Radek Martinek. The Czech player was taken to a Bratislava hospital where he was found to have suffered a severe concussion and a hematoma, according to an IIHF report.
The IIHF Disciplinary Panel handed down the suspension on May 1.
Latvia lost the game 4-2 against the defending world champion Czechs.
Latvia next plays Finland in a preliminary round game scheduled at 20:15 GMT on May 2, and then faces Denmark at 16:15 GMT May 4.
A total of 16 teams are compeing the World Championship. The top three teams in each of four preliminary round groups will advance to the qualifying round, while the fourth-place team in each group will head to the relegation round.
Last year, when the World Championship was held in Germany, Latvia finished 11th overall.
© 1995-2023 Latvians Online
Please contact us for editorial queries, or for permission to republish material. Disclaimer: The content of Web sites to which Latvians Online provides links does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Latvians Online, its staff or its sponsors.