The 22 year-old sophomore defenseman, from Riga, Latvia, was announced as a member of the 25-man roster heading to Sochi, Russia next month. The Falcon blueliner has had a productive season for Bowling Green, tallying 16 points (1-15) and is +3. While known for his offensive prowess, Freibergs has also seen time on the Falcon’s penalty kill.
Ralfs played in the IIHF World Championships last year where he played all seven games for the Latvian squad, assisting on one goal and attempting three shots. Coach Bergeron will lose his talented defenseman for at least three games (@ Anchorage twice, vs. USNDT) but is excited for Freibergs’ opportunity: “We’re very happy and proud for Ralfs. It’s great to have one of our players in the Olympics and representing his country.”
In total, nine Falcons have played for their countries in the Olympics while Dan Bylsma will make his Olympic debut coaching Team USA in Sochi. Ken Morrow (USA – Gold), Rob Blake (Canada – Gold), Mark Wells (USA – Gold), Kevin Dahl (Canada – Silver), Bob Dobek (USA), Pierrick Mala (France), Greg Parks (Canada – Silver), Doug Ross (USA), and Brian Stankiewicz (Austria) have all represented their country. Rob Blake is the most recent BGSU Olympian, last skating in the 2006 Olympics.
Penalty Box Radio interviewed Ralfs after the Falcon’s 4-1 win over Alabama-Huntsville and asked him what playing for his national team means to him: “It’s a great honor to play for our national team. It was my goal, when I was a kid, to play for the national team.”
Ralfs is listed as the 8th defenseman on the Latvian squad which features players mostly from the KHL. Freibergs is the only player in the Olympics who is currently playing in the NCAA. The Olympics hockey tournament runs from 2/12-2/23 with Latvia scheduled to play 2/12 vs. Switzerland, 2/14 vs. Czech Republic, and 2/15 vs. Sweden in the preliminary round.