Sport Kalvītis: Latvian hockey has hard times ahead

Kalvītis: Latvian hockey has hard times ahead

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Kalvītis was re-elected as the president of the organization on Tuesday at the LHF congress.

The official was re-nominated by LHF Secretary General and Vice President Viesturs Koziols, while the other members present did not nominate another candidate.

“The opinion of members is important in public organizations. If they are different, the opinions must be respected. If another candidate is nominated, full elections would take place,” Kalvītis explains the re-election.

“I think that Latvian hockey is facing difficult times. The biggest challenge in the next four years will be to maintain the current hockey system. In the global economy, money will only run out and we will face problems. The Latvian economy will not be an exception either.”

In turn, Maris Martinsons was re-elected to the LHF board among six members, whose surname has previously been mentioned in several criminal proceedings. Martinson’s candidacy was nominated by Kalvitis himself. “I have always been guided by the principle – there is no conviction. It must also be understood that we are a public benefit organization that basically works according to its own principles.”

“Mogo is one of the leading clubs in Latvia, so it goes without saying that I nominate Māris Martinson for this position. There was also a lot of support from the members that are important to me,” says the LHF president.

Valentīns Bļugers, Ralfs Bukarts and Martinsons, who have been members of the current composition, have been re-elected to the new LHF board, while Edgars Buncis, Koziols and Oskars Mors will be seen in other chairs. Oleg Sorokin, Aivars Zeltins and Armands Steinbergs obtained the status of candidate members.

After Kalvitis came to power, which took place in 2016, the LHF has managed to arrange the interior of the federation, for which Kalvitis himself is most satisfied. It is also a pleasure to host the most skilled hockey players on the planet next year in Riga.

“The main thing was to organize the federation as an organization. See for yourself how active all LHF members are at the moment,” says Kalvītis, whose organization only attended the annual congress of only four of the 46 current members. “I don’t think this has been done so well before, but it all takes time.”

“I am also proud of the right to organize the world championship together with Belarus. We won Finland with one vote, which I think is a historic success in general. I told the Belarusians myself before that they should not win Finland, at least not without us. hockey is already more respected in the international arena, and not only Kazakhstan or Belarus but also Sweden, Finland, the United States, Canada and other countries want to share their views. “

Also, in different age groups, the level of Latvian hockey in world championships has been quite successfully maintained, as well as several local players had the opportunity to represent the club team at the international level.

“Next season, for the first time, we will try to play in the Baltic tournament, in which Lithuanian and Estonian clubs will also participate,” Kalvītis reveals his plans. “This idea is already financially supported by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), as a result of which the teams will not have to invest additional funding.”

It will not be easy to play the “Optibet” hockey league tournament, where the number of teams has decreased by one this year, because the hockey club “Kurbads” announced its departure after last season. The federation is looking at different ways to support local hockey, but this is not easy to achieve because tax policy is not friendly to small businesses. Crypt is supported by large sponsors “Latvijas Gāze” and “Bite”, as well as others who primarily support the adult team, but sometimes funding is also available for domestic clubs and championships.

“In the Scandinavian countries, local companies provide a lot of support for local sports, but in Latvia the tax policy is not grateful for that. Basically, we can only rely on big supporters who are also interested in big sports. for relatively little money, there is a chance to get enough influence. “

“I think that the public should be informed more often in this regard, because it must be understood that support for Latvian sports is patronage, not an opportunity to earn.”

Meanwhile, the financial situation of the organization itself is considered to be quite stable. The LHF annual report for 2019 shows that LHF’s revenue exceeded the 3.2 million euro mark, but expenses amounted to 3.1 million euros.

“We have to say that we survived the first wave of the crisis well. We have accumulated enough reserves to cover the next hockey season,” the president opens the LHF wallet. “The question is whether we will be able to provide the same amount of own funding, but in general we are ready for the hockey season.”

Also, until 2022, there is no need to worry about who will lead the adult team, because an agreement has already been reached with the current specialist Bob Hartley.

Kalvitis was elected President of the LHF for the first time on October 7, 2016, when Kirov Lipman was unexpectedly ousted.

Lipman has held the position of President of the LHF since 1998, and before that he headed it in 1994 and 1995. Vilnis Burtnieks (from 1992 to 1994) and Uģis Magonis (from 1995 to 1998) have also held this position.

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