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Day 4: November 16, Riga, Latvia

On Day Four of the NHLPA Goals & Dreams “10 countries in 10 days” tour, Arturs Irbe joined the G & D crew.

Day Four - G & D team visits Riga, Latvia to donate more equipment and celebrate 10th anniversary with former NHLer and native hero, Irbe…

First off, sorry we weren’t able to provide another update after the event in Moscow last night. So, to finish up…After the event, we went straight to a traditional Russian restaurant for dinner with Pavel and a few of the people who organized the great G & D event with us (so we didn’t really have a chance really to send another update along). We thought it was another big success for the G & D crew. A lot of media showed up for the press conference and it truly was evident we were in the company of a superstar; Pavel is truly admired by many, many fans in his home country of Russia. It was really nice he came out to support the cause and help give more Russian youth a chance to play the game he was so great at.

Onto Riga:

We caught a very early flight out of Moscow this morning to Riga, Latvia. When we landed in Latvia, we were greeted by Girts Udris (local hockey coach there and part of organizing committee for G & D event in Latvia). It’s been pretty cloudy here today, probably about +5 degrees outside. Girts took us to our hotel, before we were taken on a tour of Riga by his daughter, Sabine Udris. She took us through the old town part of Riga. It’s truly beautiful there, and full of great architecture. After our brief sightseeing, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our event. Dress shirts + ties for the entire G & D crew for the first time on the trip! (we think Arturs had a suspicion we would show up wearing jogging suits so he gave us a more formal dress code!)

At the arena, we had our press conference at 2:00pm, which was well attended. We presented Arturs with an NHLPA Goals & Dreams “10 countries in 10 days” world tour jersey. The donation was explained, nine different youth hockey organizations in Latvia will each receive five sets of equipment from NHLPA Goals & Dreams for a total of 45 sets of equipment donated. The children in attendance were very excited. After the press conference, a few of the children got to skate on the ice at the arena. Following that, Zams, P.J. and “Archie” ran a practice for minor hockey team. It was really cool to see, and these kids were eager to learn from all of the pros who were their coaches for a day. Archie is very well-liked in Latvia, and we really can’t say enough about how nice of a guy he is and how much he cares about giving back to the kids from his native land.

To give everyone an idea of how much Archie cares about the program and helping kids in Latvia, he flew all the way from the U.S. (where he works as a goalie coach with the Washington Capitals) to Latvia and is leaving tomorrow after the event is over so he can get back to his work with the Caps. Now that’s dedication!

Arturs told the G & D crew after the press conference, “The NHLPA Goals & Dreams program means a lot to Latvian people. I’m so proud to be a part of this event and past donations, giving kids from my home country a chance to play hockey.”

That’s all for now. We’ll have another update for you tomorrow from Prague. In the meantime, you should check out the pictures and videos we’ve uploaded onto the website (, if you haven’t already done so. We’ve gotten some great footage and photos so far! We’re hoping to upload all of our videos and photos from the events in Russia and Latvia soon, too (once we’re able to find a good internet connection to do so).

Until then,
G & D crew

NHLPA Goals & Dreams in Latvia

The NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund first touched down in Latvia back in July of 2002.  With ice hockey grabbing the attention of young children throughout the capital city of Riga, Arturs Irbe and the Goals & Dreams fund helped more than 100 children experience the game for the first time.  The donation of that equipment has led to the further development of hockey programs around the country.  NHLPA members have donated more than $100,000 CDN to grassroots hockey programs in Latvia and continue to try and grow the game in one of the world’s top 10 hockey countries. Several Latvian NHLers including Arturs Irbe, Sandis Ozolinsh and Karlis Skrastins have been involved in Goals & Dreams programs in their home country.

A couple of the programs supported by the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund include:

View all the videos on Vimeo

Day 4 - Arturs Irbe talks NHLPA Goals & Dreams’ impact on Latvian youth 

P.J. recaps Latvian event/ Zamuner tees up Czech event

Day Four – Youth Hockey Players in Riga, Latvia

View all the photos on Flickr