World Hockey Championship in Tampere – for 3rd place: USA – Latvia, May 28, 2023. Latvia bronze team.
Riga – Tens of thousands of fans gathered in Riga today to celebrate the historic bronze medal from the Ice Hockey World Cup. With applause and loud shouts in the center of the metropolis, the Latvians welcomed the national team, which returned home from Finland today after Sunday's victory over the USA 4:3 in overtime.
Latvian police estimated that at least 30,000 people took part in the fun and celebrations in today's warm weather. In footage from the Latvian media, the broad boulevard near the Freedom Monument was flooded by crowds waving flags and dressed in crimson and white jerseys of the national team.
Latvian hockey players returned to their homeland from Tampere around noon. The plane with them first symbolically flew over the center of Riga, where the assembled fans were already waiting, then the plane was greeted directly on the runway by fire trucks with sirens and a hail of water formed by streams of water. The national team then boarded buses that were escorted by a police convoy on the way to the Freedom Monument.
Third place at the World Cup is a historic success for Latvian hockey. The best placing so far was achieved in 1997, 2004 and 2009, when the national team finished seventh.
Bronze was also celebrated late Sunday night by the Latvian parliament, which declared a holiday for today during an extraordinary session. According to the Delfi server, several MPs came to vote in national team jerseys.