Ingus Dvinis, a sixth year student of Templemichael College Longford town, has just embarked on an ice hockey trip of a lifetime, as he takes part in an exclusive ice hockey camp in Vancouver, Canada.
The seventeen-year-old first moved to Longford in 2015 and upon making the move, he set out to take part in a sport he had always dreamed of playing - ice hockey.
He told the Leader, “My whole life I always wanted to play ice hockey, but I was never able to afford to buy the equipment or go to training in Latvia.
“I always attended all of the games of my hometown’s team in Latvia and I always dreamed of being one of them.
“Straight away the next day after coming to Ireland, I went to see what the rolled hockey scene was like and knowing that it’s very similar to ice hockey, I was excited to play roller hockey.”
Ingus’ journey into life in hockey took off thanks to the help of coaches Aigars Brencis and Janis Kipars, who showed him the ropes and helped him on his way.
Ingus said, “I started training and with the amazing help and knowledge of my coaches Aigars Brencis and Janis Kipars, I was able to pick up the sport quickly.
“I knew that this is what what I’ve always wanted to do,” he added.
Ingus soon joined up with Midlands Thunders and subsequently won the all-Ireland U-18 play-offs for two years on the trot. His success in the game have taken him all over Ireland and parts of Europe.
He said, “With Midland Thunders, we won the all-Ireland U-18 playoffs for two years in a row.
“We then produced an amazing performance in the Sparta cup (U-18) that was held in Spain.
“We also won two first place cups last summer and many more titles before.”
Although already having experienced significant success on the in-line hockey playing fields, Ingus still harboured hopes of becoming an ice hockey player. This led to a move to Dundalk and the success followed.
He stated, “Even though I was doing good at In-line hockey, I knew that I still wanted to be an ice hockey player, so I joined an ice hockey team in Dundalk and we won first place in the cross border cup.”
A variety of reasons saw Ingus making another hockey career move and led to him joining a new team called the Dublin Ducks. It was this move that earned him the opportunity of a lifetime.
He explained, “After training for about a month, they offered me and a few other guys the opportunity to go to Vancouver to attend high class trainings and games.
“I was so excited,” Ingus said, before adding, “They offered me something I’ve been dreaming about my whole life.”
Ingus says this trip will be a huge experience and one he hopes will help him to further develop his hockey skills.
He told Kevin Forde of the Leader, “When I go out there, I expect to see many people who are better than me, that I can look up to and learn from.
“This is a huge experience and as I said I’ve been dreaming about this my whole life.”
“I’m a little nervous. It’s a whole different world.”
Although nervous, Ingus will be joined by a number of ice hockey playing friends, whom have already travelled extensively to compete in hockey competitions.
He said, “I’m going there with my few other teammates/friends from Dublin Ducks.
“These guys have experience already in travelling to these countries and I hope they will help me adapt.”
Ingus will be taking part in the training camp in Vancouver from October 24 to November 3 and with this in mind and funding a necessity, his school - Templemichael college - recently held a fundraising non-uniform day.
Ingus noted, “My school recently helped me to organise a fundraiser, a non-uniform day, to help me raise funds for this trip.
“All together, we raised a total of €370 which helped me to pay off a lot of the travel costs.
“I’d like to say a huge thanks to principal Ms Sorcha Nic Dhonnacha and Mr O’Rourke for the support, and the teachers who helped me organise this fundraiser,” he continued.
Although already now departed, Ingus is still seeking financial support for his trip and upcoming trips away. For those who would like to sponsor Ingus on his journey, which you can still do, you can email him at: Dvinis553@gmail.com for further details.
Excited for the upcoming camp, Ingus also noted his enthusiasm for events to take place next year, where he will don the green white and gold of Ireland for the first time.
He said, “I was also selected to represent Ireland in Chicago next year to participate in ice hockey tournament, which I am really looking forward to.”
It is four years since Ingus first made the move from Liepaja, Latvia to Ireland and in those four short years he has taken to the ice like a duck to water.
Now flying the flag for Longford and Ireland, he has progressed in the game more rapidly than he travels on the ice and long may it continue.