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Kovalchuk named Russian hockey squad’s captain for Euro Challenge match with Latvia

Ilya Kovalchuk is the two-time world champion and the 2018 Olympics champion

RIGA, April 24. /TASS/. Russia’s veteran ice hockey forward Ilya Kovalchuk has been named the captain of the national team for the 2019 Euro Challenge match against Latvia, the press service of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation (RHF) announced on Wednesday.

The match between the national teams of Latvia and Russia will be played in the Latvian capital of Riga and kicks off at 7:30 p.m. local time.

Kovalchuk, who turned 36 earlier in the month, is the two-time world champion and the 2018 Olympics champion. He is also the holder of two Gagarin Cup trophies, which he won playing for KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg hockey club. Last June he signed a three-year contract with NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.

The Russian national ice hockey team is playing this year as part of the annual Euro Ice Hockey Challenge two-match series against the teams of Switzerland, France and Latvia.

The Euro Ice Hockey Challenge is an annual ice hockey tournament involving Europe’s 12 national teams and is held since 2011. The matches of the Euro Challenge are traditionally played in April and are viewed as a preparatory stage ahead of the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championships.

The 2019 IIHF World Championship is hosted by Slovakia between May 10 and 26. The teams were divided into Groups A and B. Group A will be playing matches in Slovakia’s Kosice and includes hosts Slovakia, Canada, the United States, Finland, Germany, Denmark, France and Great Britain.

Group B will be playing matches in Bratislava and enlists teams from Sweden, Russia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Norway, Latvia, Austria and Italy.