Graz99ers striker Zintis Zusevits in summer interview for the new season.

EBEL regulas Season 2018-19 – 1.2.2019 Vienna Capitals vs Graz 99ers #90 Kelsey Tessier, #10 Zintis Zusevics (c) Andreas Urban/Baltics Media

Last season, the Graz 99ers had a very successful season. Reaching the play-offs and also participating in the CHL were celebrated at the end of the season. In this team, the only latvian in the EBEL is Zintis Nauris Zusevics, his full name, who also contributed his share to this success. The 25-year-old striker goes into the new season with great ambition and was available for an interview.

Balticsmedia: Zintis, first of all many thanks for your time, which you took for this interview. Please give us a little personal review of the last season.

Zintis Zusevics: “Please, I think the last season was really good for us, we made the play-offs after a long time and also came to the Semi finals, I think that was a very strong season and we can crown it also play in the Champions Hockey League.”

BM: You are currently in the middle of the season preparation. What is your previous conclusion to the first training sessions?

ZZ: “Now in August, we’re doing a lot of off-ice right now, and we’re seeing that everyone is in good shape, because that’s going to be a long season, and we need everyone to be healthy and fit.”

BM: What is your impression of the new players? Could these already be integrated into the team?

ZZ: “Yes, the new players are all very motivated and in Locker Room there is a very positive mood.”

BM: The 99ers play for the first time in the CHL. What is your assessment in the group and where will the journey in this European competition go for you?

ZZ: “Of course we want to try to win every game and make the climb, I think we also have a chance against each team and get ahead in the group.”

EBEL regular Season 2018-19 Vienna Capitals vs Graz 99ers #10 Zintis Zusevics (c) Andreas Urban/BalticsMedia

BM: But now a look at the new season. On the 13th of September the new EBEL season starts with a home match against vice champions, the Vienna Capitals. What are the goals for the upcoming season and how do you assess the chances and goals you have set yourself?

ZZ: “Just like last year, we want to get back into the play-offs and then, as we all know, everything could happen, and last year we were in the semi-finals. If we manage that again and maybe we reach the final, it will be a really good one Season for us.”

BM: Your contract was extended in Graz, what are your personal goals at the club or are there long-term goals / wishes for you?

ZZ: “My personal goals are to help as much and as well as possible the team, I will work hard in every game and try to implement what Coach Doug Mason demands of me.”

BM: Now perhaps an unpopular point: Is the Latvian national team an issue for you? And would you like to present yourself with another good seasonal performance to get you talking to the Latvian coaches. With 25 you are just the right age?

ZZ: “Playing for the Latvian national team was and always is my dream, but I can not say any more about it at the moment. I play my games, do my best and wait for my chance, but this dream will stay alive for so long I play ice hockey games.”

BM: Finally, what is your seasonal goal, reaching the play-offs is the minimum, or do you want more.

ZZ: “The minimum goal is the play-offs, but as mentioned, the semi-finals like last year would be great and I think with our team we can do that again in the new season.”

BM: Thank you for your time and wish a successful and injury-free season.