’Organizational problems’ cancel hockey games in Sochi

  • 2014-01-28
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Organizational problems in Russia's Sochi have canceled both of Latvia's pre-Olympic exhibition ice hockey games in Sochi, Russia.

Latvia had two pre-Olympic exhibition games scheduled in Sochi - on Feb. 8 against Russia, and on Feb. 10 against Austria. Latvia's opening Olympic match will take place on Feb. 12 against Switzerland.

The Russian side has encountered problems ensuring referees for the exhibition matches, Latvian newspaper Diena reports.

''There is nothing we can do anymore. We must accept the situation,'' said Maris Baldonieks, general manager of the Latvian men's ice hockey team, adding that they will instead organize additional team practice sessions.

The Latvian national men's ice hockey team will begin preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi on Feb. 1.

The head coach of the Latvian team Ted Nolan, who is currently coaching the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL, will only join up with the team in Sochi before the start of the Olympics.

The Latvian team will gather for a five-day training camp on Feb. 1 and will fly out to Sochi on Feb. 6.

The Latvian team will open the Sochi Olympic Games with a game against Switzerland on Feb. 12. On Feb. 14, Latvia will take on the Czech Republic and Feb. 15 - Sweden.

There will be three groups competing in the preliminary round of the Sochi hockey tournament. Latvia is in Group C together with the Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland.

This will be the fourth Winter Olympics in a row for the Latvian ice hockey team.