Recently, we had the chance to catch up with another goalie from the Latvian side in the 20016 IIHF U18 World Championships. We have interviewed goalie Mareks Mitens recently and we recently interviewed Gustavs Grigals.
Grigals was named one of the top three players for the Latvian side at the tournament and his combined efforts with Mitens helped the Latvian side avoid relegation in a harrowing three game series against Denmark.
This past season, Grigals was outstanding for his HK Riga side in the Russian Junior League (MHL). The net minder had a 2.36 Goals Against average and a sterling 92.6 save percentage. In addition, Gustavs helped the Latvia U20 side gain promotion to the World Juniors Championship being held in Montreal and Toronto this upcoming December.
Below are Grigals’ answers to our questions.
What is your favorite memory of the season?
“My favorite memory is a game in the Russian Junior Hockey League (MHL) against the league champions “Loko” from Yaroslavl where I was able to save all 40 shots. Also, I have good memories about the World Junior Championship Division 1 in Austria where we won and got promoted to the 2017 World Junior Championship.”
What was favorite thing you did in grand forks besides playing hockey?
“We did not have a lot of spare time, but with the time I had I enjoyed seeing the local college life and exploring the city.”
What are your pro hockey goals for next year and beyond?
“I want to play at a high level and become a stable and good goalie whilst getting good education. Also, I want to make the U20 team and play in the World Championships in Toronto.”
What where your thoughts on the overall tournament experience in Grand Forks?
“It was a well organized and overall a great tournament. It was an excellent experience to play against the world’s best players and teams.”
What NHL goalie do you model your game after?
“I try to watch every goalie and pick something from everyone. I love watching some goalies like, Carey Price because he is very calm and skilled and Jonathan Quick because he is flexible and quick.”
What was your favorite aspect of your team at the tournament this year?
“I liked that we were like a family. The players really helped each other and the goalies. They blocked many shots and sacrificed themselves for the team.”
What is your favorite non hockey hobby?
“In my free time, I love to spend some time with my family and friends, go to the school and try to relax. I also enjoy spending time with my dog and teaching it new commands.”
What is the biggest improvement to your game you have made in the past year?
“The biggest improvement for me this season was that I started to play at a higher level as I was able to play in the U18 and U20 world championships in the same season. It inspired me to work harder, to become better every day. I believe that if you work hard good things will happen.”