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Nation declares national holiday after beating USA for bronze medal in hockey World Championship

Monday became a national holiday for Latvia after the country’s biggest hockey win ever.

The country, whose national sport is hockey, defeated the United States, 4-3, in overtime in the bronze medal game of the IIHF World Championship.

The victory was so huge for Latvians that their government decided to make Monday a national holiday.

Kristians Rubins scored the medal winner just 1:22 into the overtime period at Nokia Arena in Finland — the crowd consisted of mostly Latvia fans, so the goal sent just about everybody into a frenzy.

It was the country’s first medal in IIHF competition, and they had not finished better than seventh place prior to this tournament.

Members of the Latvian parliament rocked the team’s sweaters when declaring Monday the holiday.

“Celebrating the success of the Latvian hockey team could encourage everyone to strive for excellence in their work, in their skills,” the bill stated, via USA Today. “Celebrating this day together would strengthen the national self-confidence and cohesion of the Latvian society.”

Latvian squad celebrates victory during the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Finland - Latvia game between USA and Latvia at Nokia Arena on May 28, 2023 in Tampere, Finland.
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 Miks Indrasis of Latvia celebrate winning the bronze medal during the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Finland
Getty Images

Canada, for the 28th time, won the gold medal, taking down Germany. 

Canada beat Latvia, 5-2, in the semifinals, which hardly came as a surprise.

But for Latvia, this win will last a lifetime.

“For the big teams like Canada, this is what they do,” Latvian forward Miks Indrašis said after the game. “They win medals all the time. But for us, it’s like a one-time opportunity. This is unreal.”