SLOVAN HAS SIGNED A 28-YEAR-OLD GOALKEEPER KRISTERS GUDLEVSKIS FROM VILLACH, AUSTRIA, TO THE END OF THE SEASON.
After Slovan decided to end the assistance of the Russian goalkeeper Andrej Makarov due to persistent health problems, the management intensively sought an adequate replacement. The choice fell on the Latvian goalkeeper Kristers Gudlevskis, who last played for the Austrian ICE HL in the club Villacher SV.
Kristers Gudlevskis (born July 31, 1992 in Aizkrauk, height 192 cm, weight 97 kg) began his professional career in the Latvian league at the HK Ogre club. Subsequently, he moved to HK Riga, where he tasted the youth MHL. He made his debut in the Continental Hockey League (KHL) in the Dinamo Riga jersey on October 5, 2012 against the Lev Prague.
Gudlevskis is only the second Latvian goalkeeper to be drafted into the NHL after the legendary Arturs Irbe. Tampa Bay Lightning chose him from the 124th place overall in 2013. Kristers spent a total of four seasons in the organization of "lightning".
In the first one - 2013/2014 - he entered the history of world hockey, when he was the first player to play in a single season in the ECHL (Florida Everblades), AHL (Syracuse Crunch), IIHF World Championships in Belarus, and the Olympics in Sochi and one game played in the NHL for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He made his debut in the NHL on April 11, 2014 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, when he saved 36 shots of his opponent and took part in winning The Bolts 3: 2.
Two months earlier, at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Gudlevskis may have caught his life match so far, holding the maple leaf country's tense players for a long time in the quarterfinals of the Olympic tournament against Canada. He saved an incredible 55 of 57 shots in the match, finally considering a few minutes before the end and Canada secured a close victory with a 2: 1 victory.
The phenomenal performance at the Olympics did not help Kristers in the NHL in the end. He spent most of the following seasons with the AHL (Syracuse Crunch, Bridgeport Sound Tigers). Very often, however, he commuted between the first Tampa Bay team to cover the back of the rising star Andrei Vasilevskiy. The number of his captured matches in the NHL stopped at number 3, but with great statistics of 1.37 collection goals per match and a save rate of 95.9%!
Before the 2018/2019 season, Gudlevskis decided to return to Europe. His steps naturally led to Dinamo Riga in the KHL. In December 2019, he moved to the team of the North German participant DEL Fischtown Penguins on the basis of a one-year contract. In the current season, he was a part of the team ICE HL Villacher SV (27 matches, GAA 2.80, SV% .913).
At the national level, Gudlevskis defended the colours of his native Latvia at 4 world championships and one Olympics.
HC SLOVAN Bratislava welcomes Kristers Gudlevskis in its colours and believes that together we will experience the successful end of this season, spiced with team success as well as good individual performance.