Being one of the oldest clubs in Baltic Handball League, the 2020/21 season is only the second time HK Ogre is taking part in the region’s top competition. Besides SK Tapa, SK Latgols Ludza and Varsa-Stronglasas Alytus, the former Latvian cup-winner HK Ogre is the fourth new team compared to the previous, COVID-interrupted season.
Dating back its foundation to 1964, HK Ogre has only recently climbed its way up to the elite of the Latvian handball. In 2013/14 the club finished second in the Latvian league and in 2015/16 they won the bronze-medals. Last three seasons however, Ogre has had to settle for fourth place.
“Obviously, domestic championships are very important for us and we are hoping to get back into the top three. In order to raise our level, we need good matches and BHL will provide that. We need to play smart, as opponents have more experience and higher targets,” commented HK Ogre’s head coach Andris Molotanovs.
Biggest success of the club came in 2016/17 season, when they first defeated Celtnieks Riga in the Latvian Cup semi-final and then beat SK Latgols Ludza 27:26 in the final. Ogre followed this up a year later and reached the cup final again, only to be ousted by ZRHK Tenax Dobele.
For the 2015/16 season, Ogre made their debut in BHL. The newcomer started with a 34:30 win over Celtnieks and lost to Dragunas Klaipeda by just one goal, but eight more defeats followed in the group stage. Despite this, already in charge of the team back then, Molotanovs commented: “This was a great experience for our team. To get matches at this level is hugely important for the development of players.”
Ogre participated in Klaipeda-tournament last weekend and lost all four matches against their Baltic opponents. On a positive note, at half-time they were leading against both Dragunas and Varsa-Stronglasas Alytus, but travelling with only eight players, the strengths faded by the end of matches.
“We are an amateur team and this time it was difficult to get all players ready. Nevertheless it was a very good test for us and showed we can play with almost any team in the Baltics. Some teams need to be in form by next month to play in EHF competitions, but we will take it patiently and build the team for a long season,” explained Molotanovs.
“We lost two of our goalkeepers before the season, including Rolands Lebedevs moving to Iceland. Experienced Artis Laganovskis and Rolands Ivanovs stopped playing, but we have signed three talented players from Murjani’s sports school and Renats Hovratovičs joined us from Tenax,” shared Ogre’s head coach the main team news.
Best domestic results: Latvian cup-winner 2016/17, Latvian championship runner-up 2013/14
Best European results: not participated
Best results in BHL: 6th place in Group A in 2015/16
Head coach: Andris Molotanovs
Key players: Arvis Laganovskis, Renats Hovratovičs, Andis Silnieks
Opening match in BHL: 05/09/2020 Celtnieks Riga – HK Ogre
On photo: HK Ogre started their pre-season with a tough match against Lithuanian champion Dragunas Klaipeda. (Photo: HC Dragunas).