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Thread: Latvian Icehockey in the 1930's. & Jørgen Hviid.

  1. #1
    IHF Member
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    Nov 2013

    Latvian Icehockey in the 1930's. & Jørgen Hviid.

    It seems that even though icehockey was introduced very early in Latvia, it was bandy that was the predominate sport until the early 1930's where the Latvian Icehockey league took off.
    This must be the reason why Latvia did not participate in the European Icehockey championships in the early 1920's where Czechoslovakia, Sweden and Switzerland battled it out.

    The Latvian really took off officially from 1931-32 with Unions Riga winning the first two championships.
    On that team was the Father of Danish Icehockey - and IIHF Hall of Fame - Jørgen Hviid. In Latvia he was known under the name Jergens Hvids. He debuted already as 15 years old.
    He played for Unions Riga between 1931-34 and then again from 1937-39. The break in between likely because he was drafted in to the Danish navy and ended up as a marine-lieutenant.

    Does any of you have any kind of roster with point statistics for these early years of Latvian hockey?

    Jørgen Hviid by the way scored all Denmark's 4 goals at the WC 1949 where Denmark got it's debut receiving massive losses [0-47 to Canada for instance). Not unexpectedly as Jørgen Hviid was the only “real hockeyplayer“ on the team.

  2. #2
    IHF Staff Starkovs's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    Jūrmala, Latvia
    Are you looking for specific years or just general information? I saw you started this over on HF with GX giving you helping information, he does a fantastic job so dont know how much I could add for you. :D But I can always try and I will skip over what GX already wrote.

    So, I guess we can start at the unofficial season, five clubs compete, two of them from Liepāja, that being Olimpija and ASK. Three Rīga clubs, Unions, Wanderer and US (University Sport). The Championship was to be played within a month from 1.February to 1.March with 6 matches, three in the Rīga area and two in the Liepāja area with a final, matches were 3x15.

    First match Unions defeated Wanderer 5:2 (2:1, 1:0, 2:1) with goals from Johans Skadiņš (x2), Indriķis Reinbahs, Arveds Keslers, and Ērihs Kelimess. Line-up for Unions was Kušķis, Keslers, Skadiņš, Reinbahs, Kelimess, and LindenbergsSecond match they drew with US 3:3 (1:1, 2:1, 0:1) but no goals for this match.
    This result won Unions the Rīga area and they faced off against ASK in the finals, it is noted that this was ASK second year playing "Canadian hockey." Unions ended up winning the title 1:0/OT with the winner coming from Skadiņš

    On 8.March, the Rīga based clubs played a short mini-tournament with 3x10 rules, Unions defeated Wanderer 2:0 but lost to US 1:2 to they claimed the title for this.

    Unions roster for the first "season" was Herberts Kušķis, Ērihs Kelimess, Jūlijs Lindenbergs, Arveds Keslers, Alfrēds Verners, Indriķis Reinbahs, and Johans Skadiņš.

    Herberts Kušķis being the goalkeeper who won the Latvian title six times, both times with Unions before moving to play for ASK Rīga where he won three in a row, broken up by US before ASK claimed the title again. He also competed for us at the World Championships, including being the starter in the first one we played at and at the Olympics.

    I hope this is the kind of stuff you are looking for, if not, point me in a more right direction and I will try to help you.

  3. #3
    IHF Member
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    Nov 2013
    GX has as you say already been an enormous help:

    So I can list also here what he found in the Latvian newspapers:

    Statistics for Jørgen Hviid playing for Unions Riga:
    1932-33 -
    Unions played 6 games, Hviid played in 4 of them, scored 4 goals. (There is another game Unions won 3:0, for which there is no record of who played or scored)
    1933-34 -
    Unions played 10 games, Hviid played in 7 of them, scored 6 goals. (One 10:0 victory over Kaizerwald is missing all goal scorers and player, another 0:3 game doesn't have roster as well)
    1937-38 -
    Unions played 6 games, Hviid played in 2 of them. (2 games don't have thorough rosters)
    1938-39 -
    Unions played 3 games, Hviid played in 1 of them, scored 1 goal.

    So he was only champion with Unions Riga in 1932-33 (not in 1931-32).
    Scored 11G in the 14 games he played for them [though some games lacks goal scorers and/or rosters].

    So what else can I ask about:
    1) Really cool with the biographies about the early players as they rarely will be accessible in much detail in english. Herberts Kušķis certainly seem to be the star player of Latvian Icehockey. As he left Union they never won again., but then ASK Riga started winning.
    2) Is their any kind of Bandy History in Latvia as I expect the bulk of these players to have been bandy players (and footballers) before they for some reason started playing Canadian Ice Hockey??
    - I'm thinking clubs, league, international matches?

    If ASK Liepāja played “Canadian ice hockey“ for the second year, when the first unofficial Latvian championship feb-mar 1931, it gives 1930 as the start date. It seems that until 1930 (except for a few instances) it was Bandy being played in Latvia
    3) Did the Latvians implement the new rules in North America from 1929-30 that permitted forward passing (1929) & codified offsides (1930); or did they use other rules....[anyone knows why it suddenly started - someone being to North America or Sweden?]

    As I have found out the distinction between what is bandy and what is hockey is EXTREMELY murky (as many Scandinavians called Bandy for Ishockey) and you both had 7 man (Norway) and 11 man (Sweden) bandy variations.
    Apparently the Bandy rules were first set in stone internationally in 1955 when the International Bandy Federation was created, so especially in the early years it's very hard to know if the game being played is hockey, bandy or a hybrid in between. Just because it's called hockey or ice hockey it can still be bandy.

    Russia/Sovjet even had it's own kind of bandy. During the communist isolation apparently rules changed significantly compared to the rest of Scandinavia that with time adapted to the Swedish Rules [Norway switched from 7-man Bandy to 11 man Bandy in 1929]. Denmark dropped Bandy all together and switched to Ice hockey in 1924 and it seems that Latvia did the same in the early 30's.

    4) So it was first after WW2 (?) where the Sovjets decided to play Canadian Icehockey (it was an olympic discipline and bandy was not). I think I read one place that is was basically Latvians that introduced them to Icehockey early on. Any truth in that?

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