NAHL grad Freibergs named to Latvian Olympic team
January 13, 2014
By Kirk Estes
Former North American Hockey League (NAHL) and Texas Tornado Defenseman Ralfs Freibergs, who is currently in his sophomore season playing NCAA Division I hockey at Bowling Green State, has been selected to compete for Latvia in the coming Olympic Tournament. He will be the only current NCAA player to play in the Games.
Freibergs came to the NAHL and Texas Tornado in mid-January 2010 and continued with the team through the 2010-11 season. His impact was immediate as he registered two assists the first time he touched the ice in a Tornado sweater. In only 26 games with Texas down the stretch he put up 18 points to finish second among defensemen.
With a full season to work with Freibergs put up some very impressive numbers in 2010-11. He turned into a point per game player registering 55 points (7 goals, 48 assists) in 53 games played. Freibergs never went more than two games during the season without registering a point. In early October he hung a five-point night. He was selected to play in both NAHL Top Prospect Tournaments held in the season. In 2010-11 he was honored as the NAHL Defenseman of the Year and was a First Team All-Star selection.
Stellar play at the Junior and International levels tends to generate a lot of attention with NCAA scouts and coaching staffs and Freibergs garnered a lot of interests. On January 17, 2012, he signed a commitment to NCAA Division I Bowling Green State University.
Freibergs is currently a quarterback on the Bowling Green power play and is by far the Falcons' top-scoring defenseman. He's third on team scoring with one goal and 15 assists on the season, with half of his points coming via the power play.
Freibergs represented Latvia at the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation Division I World Junior Championship. The tournament was the fourth international tournament for Freibergs. He had played for Latvia’s U18 team in the 2008 and 2009 World Juniors followed by the 2010 and 2011 World Juniors with the U20 team and the World Championship in 2013. Freibergs was selected as the Best Defenseman by the Directorate of the 2010 IIHF Division I World Junior Hockey Championships. In all Freibergs has 34 games of World Championship level play under his belt. He has accounted for 11 points and is a +7 in those games.