Latvia stunned everyone with their first-ever group win at the World Junior Championships on Sunday. The composition has undergone changes over the past few years and Bob Hartley will be responsible for that.
Bob Hartley served as Latvian coach from 2016-2017 to 2020-21. That was when everything changed according to the current coach of Latvia, Artis Arbol.
—RDS (RDSca) August 17 2022
It has always been a problem for the small nation that we are. We tend to think of ourselves as small and take for granted that we can’t achieve much. It was Bob who helped us change that old mindset.” — Artis Arbol via Nicholas Landry from RDS
In 2017, Bob Hartley resurrects his forces in a surprising way: by making them believe they can win, by removing the notion that all was previously lost. Artis Arbol, who was Hartley’s deputy, also tried based on the facts.
“It was World Junior Year in Toronto. This is where I went to meet the federation leaders, and I was given a place in the team entourage. I noticed that the pre-match ceremonies were not over yet because the match was already folded for Latvia. It was a matter of damage control. If We made less than ten, we’d be a little happy. I sold them the idea that no matter how big the discount you should go there thinking you had a chance. I told them how many players there are in Canada, the United States, Russia and I said if we start looking at those numbers We might play table tennis or bowling. – Artis Arbol via Nicholas Landry from RDS
Perhaps Arbol’s words had a good effect, but according to him, the mentality among Latvians changed after Bob’s words.
“Tell us we’re lacking “f*** you stand”Arbol remembers. When the disc is in the corner, it is between one man and another. When the match begins, the score is 0-0 and there are five players on each side. In the game, anything is possible. It changed the way we see things. You changed me anyway. – Artis Arbol via Nicholas Landry from RDS
This is exactly what the Latvians did this year. Yes, the tournament was tough against big teams like Canada or Finland, but they kept in mind that the match would never end until it was over. Then the Czech Republic was defeated.
During this particular match we noticed the aggressiveness against Latvia. The players did not take their foot off the accelerator and won a convincing score of 5 to 2.
Wednesday, the aggressiveness against Sweden has not disappeared. It was now a one-off match against a team they had defeated 6-0 earlier in the competition. Latvian players usedAnd *** you standTo stay in the game, but eventually quit.
The good news is that instead of losing 6-0, they ended up winning 2-1 at the end of the match. There is something to be proud of for such a small country compared to others. There is no doubt that Bob Hartley has made his mark and Latvia is no longer a team to be taken lightly. In hockey, heart often triumphs over talent.
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