The Latvian Hawks ice hockey team will quit the championship round of the Irish Hockey League if points it lost in a Nov. 11 game are not restored, a team spokesman said Dec. 5.
Thanks to a number of guest players—including seven from Latvia—the Hawks clobbered the Belfast City Bruins 12-3 in the Nov. 11 game. The victory was the first for the Latvian squad formed earlier this year.
Citing rule infringements by the Latvian Hawks, the Irish Ice Hockey Association on Dec. 5 reversed the result, giving the Bruins a 5-0 victory and awarding the team 3 points in the championship standings.
The Latvian Hawks had brought in several new players, the team reported. Among them were Jozef Hruska of Slovakia and Mark Bowes of Ireland, as well as a number of players from Latvia: Kaspars Zanders, Dmitrijs Iskrovs, Artis Podziņš, Raivis Luters, Lauris Džeriņš, Edgars Bušmanis and goaltender Andrejs Žagars.
Bringing in players from Latvia violated IIHA rules, but the Latvian Hawks spokesman called the association’s decision discriminatory.
“The leadership of the Latvian Hawks wishes to inform that it rejects all criticisms and does not see anything in the incident that should be punished,” the spokesman said in a press release. “(The team) was following generally accepted practice which it borrowed from observing the actions of other IHL teams.”
The Hawks are in last place in the Irish Hockey League with a 1-4 record.
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