RIGA Latvians take their hockey very, very seriously. The annual Ice Hockey World Championships are the sporting highlight of the year for many people. Bars and cafes pack out with excited fans who nervously follow every move of the puck as it glides frantically about the ice. Victory is followed by a mass outburst of tooting car horns, whistle blowing and flag waving. The Latvian Parliament famously quit work early in 2000 to catch a game. Ice hockey has become a cherished symbol of Latvian identity, feeding it with both pride and disappointment. But what, exactly, is it about the sport th...
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