Riga packed to welcome home bronze medal-winning Latvian ice hockey team

Fans welcoming home the Latvian men's ice hockey team after their bronze medal victory.
Fans welcoming home the Latvian men's ice hockey team after their bronze medal victory. Source: Rus.LSM.lv

Latvia welcomed back its world championship bronze medal-winning men's ice hockey team in some style on Monday, with over 30,000 people, some estimates putting the figure as high as 50,000, lining the streets of central Riga.

Sunday and Monday were both declared national holidays after Latvia defeated the U.S. 4:3, in overtime in a game played in Tampere, Finland on Sunday.

Riga has in any case been co-hosting the world championships with Tampere, and so the Latvian capital has been abuzz even ahead of Sunday's victory, with outdoor screens placed outside in many cities for the public to watch.

Monday was declared a free day on an "emergency" basis by Saeima speaker Edvards Smiltens, with only essential activities such as doctors' appointments and finals exams going ahead.

President Egils Levits hosted a reception for the winning team.

The victory also attracted plenty of attention in Estonia, with the social media commentariat often declaring it a victory for Latvia's northern neighbor, in some sense, also.

Latvia's path to bronze saw them defeat Sweden 3:1 in the quarter finals, then losing 4:2 to perennials and eventual winners Canada, in the semis.

Meanwhile in Sunday's final, Canada defeated Germany, 5:2.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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