Latvia faces U.S. in first game of hockey championship

Latvia, in another bid not to end up in the cellar, will face the United States in its first game as the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship begins May 2 in Canada.

The preliminary round game is scheduled at 20:15 hours in the Halifax Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Latvia, which is starting in Group B, also is scheduled to play Canada on May 4 and Slovenia on May 6. The top three teams in the preliminary round will advance to the qualification round, but the fourth-place team will go to the relegation round.

Games will be played in Halifax and in Québec City, Québec.

During last year’s championship in Russia, Latvia ended up 13th overall in the field of 16 teams. Canada won the championship.

As of April 24 the Latvian roster for this year’s championship, according to the IIHF Web site, includes goalies Edgars Masaļskis, Sergejs Naumovs and Dmitrijs Žabotinskis. Defenders on the squad are Jānis Andersons, Guntis Galviņš, Aleksandrs Jerofejevs, Rodrigo Laviņš, Georgijs Pujacs, Jēkabs Rēdlihs, Krišjānis Rēdlihs, Arvīds Reķis and Agris Saviels. Forwards are Armands Bērziņš, Viktors Bļinovs, Mārtiņš Cipulis, Lauris Dārziņš, Guntis Džeriņš, Aleksandrs Macijevskis, Aleksandrs Ņiživijs, Sergejs Pečura, Miķelis Rēdlihs, Jānis Sprukts, Aleksejs Širokovs, Juris Štāls and Herberts Vasiļjevs.

The Latvian team is coached by Oļegs Znaroks and his assistant, Harijs Vītoliņš.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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