First of all thanks for reading my Column, those that know me would say I’m a hockey freak. I’m born and bred in Coventry home of the Blaze, i also have found a fond obsession with Dinamo Riga don’t ask me why cause quite frankly they suck, possibly down to money and bad coaching.
In late January me and my fiance Faye ventured to Riga to watch hockey we managed 3 games in 4 days! First game was Dinamo Riga vs Admiral Vladvistock a team who have now left the KHL due to financial reasons largely to blame thanks to Covid 19. The game was a tight affair which went to penalty shots after the game was tied 1-1, Admiral were pushed hard by the hosts but Admiral came away with 2pts thanks to a Shawn Lalonde finish in the shootout that beat Riga netminder Alexander Salak.
The city itself is very picturesque and has some of the nicest local beers you will find, the food is also fabulous even for the pickiest of Eater’s like myself. We even managed to take a look round the infamous house of the Black Heads which has survived a world war and still looks beautiful inside and out!
The First Period: Riga here we come
The Sunday we decided we would venture out of the centre of town to Inbox.lv Ice Arena to see the city’s junior team(Hockey Klub Riga) vs chevropets junior team Almaz. the arena itself is like the Nottingham junior rink but with a cheaper bar! The game was a bit one sided with riga’s young goalie Janis Voris being the star of the show! The fans really do get involved with the games in riga as they are banging drums and singing from the top of their voices!
The final game of the trip would be back at Arena Riga. I went all out and bought tickets on centre ice with access to the VIP area of the concourse, was it worth it not really. The game had a bit of North American flavour with some hard hitting action, Colton Gillies had a big fight in front of us with a Sibir Novobirsk player which in my eyes Gillies won! The opposition were very good value for two points and a 2-0 win, with them constantly bombarding the riga goalie Alexander Salak who done well to keep to score reasonable!
The trip in itself was a memorable one as I did get engaged while at the Skybar in the Raddisson hotel in Riga, which has fabulous night time views of the city’s beautiful skyline!
While out in Riga I managed to reignite my passion with hockey cards as I bought 3 boxes of Dinamo Riga Cards and a beautiful box of KHL All Star Weekend Cards which I pulled a 1/5 Igor Nikitin who coaches the CSKA Moscow team who are always near the top of the table in the KHL. This trip was well worth every penny, not many holidays you will go on will have -5 temperatures and a few hockey games mixed in!