• Lielezers

Up to 3,000 Latvian hockey fans expected at this year's World Championships


According to current calculations, up to 3,000 Latvian ice hockey fans are expected to travel to this year's Ice Hockey World Championships in Sweden, LETA found out from local fan organizations.

The head of the Latvian sports fan club ''Namejs'', Janis Barkans, said that most Latvian fans will attend one or two tournament games, as Stockholm is a very expensive city and many cannot afford to stay for all seven group games.

However, he is confident that the tournament will be well attended by Latvian fans, and at least 2,000 to 3,000 are expected to travel to support Latvia in Stockholm.

Barkans predicted that the most attended game by Latvian fans will be against Russia on May 5.

On the other hand, ''Dinamo'' fan club spokesman Aigars Krigers was more cautious in his estimates, as he believes only about 1,500 fans from Latvia will travel to this year's World Championships.

According to him, most fans will attend the first three games of the tournament, and maybe some of the last games. Furthermore, tickets to the Latvia-Sweden game are expensive and hard to come by.

However, ticket prices to the games have fallen recently, thus there has been an increase in the number of Latvian ice hockey fans wishing to travel to Sweden.

As reported, Latvia is in one group at this year's Ice Hockey World Championships together with Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Denmark and Italy. These group games will be played in Stockholm.

The second group consists of Finland, Canada, the United States, Switzerland, Slovakia, Belarus, France and Kazakhstan. These groups games will be played in Helsinki.

The tournament itself will be played from May 4 to 20.

Latvia finished in a disappointing 13th place at last year's World Championships in Bratislava, and is currently ranked 12th in the IIHF rankings.