RIGA – Eriks Miluns, the head coach of the Latvian U20 national team, has named 31 candidates for the selection camps in Riga, Latvia, and Brooks, Canada.
The Latvians were promoted to play in the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship last year by winning in the Division I tournament. The Baltic nation will face Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and Slovakia in Group A in Calgary.
27 players from European clubs will assemble for a camp in Riga from 14th to 16th December. 21 out of those players will travel to Canada where they will be joined by the four players from North American teams: Nikita Kolesnikovs (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL), Teodors Blugers (Shattuck-St. Mary's School, USA), Zemgus Girgensons (Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL) and Kristians Pelss (Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL).
After the camp in Brooks the roster will be cut by two more players.
17 out of the 31 players come from Latvian clubs, most of them playing in Russian junior leagues with teams from the Dinamo Riga organisation. The other players are with teams in Sweden (3), Switzerland (3), Finland (2), the Czech Republic (1) and Russia (1).
Six returnees were on the team that won last year’s U20 World Championship Division I Group A in Bobruisk, Belarus.
Latvia’s U20 national team candidate list
Rihards Cimermanis, Juniors Riga (LAT/MHL-B)
Kristers Gudlevskis, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Elviss Merzlikins, HC Lugano (SUI U20)
Vladislavs Dudins, Olimpia Kirovo-Chepetsk (RUS/MHL)
Kristers Freibergs, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Krists Kalnins, AIK Härnösand (SWE-3)
Nikita Kolesnikovs, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
Kriss Lipsbergs, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Martins Mezulis, Rapperswil-Jona Lakers (SUI U20)
Kristaps Nimanis, Red Ducks Vaasa (FIN-3)
Arturs Salija, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Edgars Siksna, Liepajas Metalurgs (LAT/BLR)
Sandis Sostaks, Liepajas Metalurgs (LAT)
Pauls Zvirbulis, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Toms Andersons, SC Bern (SUI U20)
Arturs Birstins, HC Most (CZE U20)
Teodors Blugers, Shattuck-St. Mary's School (USHS)
Maris Dilevka, Liepajas Metalurgs (LAT/BLR)
Zemgus Girgensons, Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
Pauls Hodzko, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Vitalijs Hvorostinins, Vaasan Sport (FIN U20)
Nikolajs Jelisejevs, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Nikita Jevpalovs, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Edgars Klavins, AIK Stockholm (SWE U20)
Arturs Kuzmenkovs, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Kristaps Legzdins, Syrianska/Armeniska Västerås (SWE-4)
Roberts Lipsbergs, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Kristians Pelss, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Davis Straupe, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Kirils Tambijevs, HK Riga (LAT/MHL)
Juris Ziemins, Juniors Riga (LAT/MHL-B)