For the most part, experienced fans had warm memories of Dynamo Riga during the period of their performance in the USSR championship. The Baltic club opened for our hockey the legendary coach Viktor Tikhonov and a whole galaxy of brilliant players led by three-time world champion Helmut Balderis. And in 1988, the team reached its peak, winning the silver medals of the allied championship, losing only to the invincible CSKA. After the collapse of the USSR, the club, already under the name “Pardaugava”, played in the Inter-Ethnic Hockey League championship and quietly ceased to exist in 1995.
The revival of the Latvian hockey flagship was timed to coincide with the formation of the KHL, which Dynamo joined from the first season. The emphasis was on a departure from the origins and image of a modern European club. There were many bright personalities in the new team: the Redlihsy brothers, Kaspars Daugavins, Mārtiņš Karsums and many others were loved by fans throughout the vast expanses of the league. But sometimes, in the pursuit of show business, the leaders of the Riga club, frankly, went too far.
What does the sun look like?
On November 17, 2013, a figure in the colors of the Latvian flag, unmistakably reminiscent of the Nazi symbol, was placed on the ice before the Rigans’ home game against Yugra. There was no limit to the bewilderment and indignation of hockey fans and specialists. The league immediately tried to justify Dynamo by issuing a statement that the figure featured did not represent a swastika, but rather the sun. It could not cause anything but laughter, so a week later the KHL still fined the club a million rubles for displaying prohibited symbols.
After that, the inhabitants of Riga became more cautious in the public manifestation of their feelings, but those who saw this dubious performance, of course, drew their own conclusions. And maybe they were right. In 2022, after the worsening of the political situation in the world, Dynamo Riga announced its withdrawal from the KHL. The Baltic club leaders were not shy with their words and slammed the door shut.
Don’t bite the hand that feeds
The inhabitants of Riga spent the last season in the Latvian championship, but did not manage to achieve much success. Having taken the third place in the regular championship, the Riga residents did not lose chances to the future winner of the tournament – “Zemgale” from Jelgava in the semifinals of the play-offs. The first call that “everything is not fine in the Riga kingdom” sounded even then. And now it has become known that Dynamo may not start next season due to financial problems.
HC “Dinamo” (Riga)
As it turned out, cooking in a cozy KHL cauldron was much more reliable than becoming a financially successful project in your native country. You certainly won’t surprise anyone with silver from the USSR championship thirty-five years ago – there are fewer and fewer nostalgic fans who remember that time from year to year.
Archive “Soviet sport”
So far, the Dynamo camp denies the fact of withdrawing from the championship, but it is known that they have not yet applied for the next season. As a rule, there is no smoke without fire, so in the very near future the Riga club may die for the second time in less than three decades. And it is possible that this time for good.