Ultimate Windows sponsored Billingham Stars

ULTIMATE WINDOWS-sponsored Billingham Stars tonight unveil their second import for the coming season as Latvian centre Deniss Baškatovs joins from Belgian BeNeLiga side Chiefs Leuven.

In 24-year-old Deniss, the Stars are expecting big things from a player who has consistently found the back of the net wherever he has played. Hailing originally from the Latvian capital city of Riga, Deniss spent his early career in his home country before joining up with Russian outfit Olimpiya Kirovo-Chepetsk in the MHL, the top junior hockey league in Eurasia, in 2013. He moved from there to Belarus for his second MHL season with MHK Yunost Minsk before heading West and spending two seasons in the BeNeLiga, first with Eindhoven Kemphanen then last year with Chiefs Leuven where he top-scored for his side.

Deniss Baškatovs previous clubs

  • 2010-11: DHK Latgale (Latvia 1)
  • 2011-13: Prizma Riga (MHL B / Latvia 1)
  • 2013-14: Olimpiya Kirovo-Chepetsk (MHL)
  • 2014-15: MHK Yunost Minsk (MHL)
  • 2015-16: Eindhoven Kemphanen (BeNeLiga)
  • 2016-17: Chiefs Leuven (BeNeLiga)

View Deniss' Elite Prospects profile here.

Deniss Baškatovs season 2016-2017 (Chiefs Leuven, BeNeLiga)

  • Games played: 19
  • Goals: 15
  • Assists: 22
  • Points: 37
  • PIM: 36

Baškatovs Q&A on signing...

Q. Welcome to Billingham! What made you decide to come to play in the United Kingdom? Why did you choose Billingham Stars?

"Thank you! I am very happy to sign with the Billingham Stars. When my agent presented me the opportunity of playing in the United Kingdom and with the Billingham Stars, I talked with him and thought about this opportunity, and I decided to sign. The Billingham Stars wanted me on the team, which was most important to me. I want to say thanks to Allen Flavell for doing a very good and professional job! I know the Billingham Stars are a very professional organisation and the staff is working very hard to build a good team. For me of course this is a very interesting opportunity!"

Q. You have played hockey in a few different countries - do you know anything about British ice hockey?

"Yes, I know about British ice hockey. I do have much to learn because it will be my first season in the United Kingdom, but I know hockey in your country is growing very fast which is great! I know in the United Kingdom the level of hockey is good. But again, for me it is very interesting because I like countries where hockey is interesting to fans and hockey is getting more popular. I am excited about this, and I am sure after a few more years hockey will be of even better calibre in the country!"

Q. How would you describe yourself to anyone who hasn’t seen you play?

"This is a hard question for me. I don't like to speak about me. I think it would be better to ask fans of the teams I played with the last couple seasons since they know me well! I am a centre forward who can also play on the left or right side. My best skill is having good vision on the ice, and I like to play fast on offense and am a hard worker on defense. I am very good on face-offs, which I think is very important for a centre forward."

Q. What are you looking forward to the most?

"I am looking forward to coming to Billingham and meeting all of the players, fans, and people who work with the club. I am already practising and preparing for next season. I am looking forward to playing my first game in a Billingham Stars jersey!"

Q. Do you have any personal goals for this season?

"All my goals and thoughts are about winning games with the Billingham Stars. I want to win every game and of course go into the playoffs and win it all. I think we can do this. Of course, I am a forward and have personal goals to have a great season for this team. I will do my very best every game to score lots of goals and help set up my teammates for goals. I will do whatever is needed for us to try and win."

Q. What do you enjoy away from ice hockey? What do you hope to do with your time in the UK when you're not playing?

"I like to play Xbox One. For me that is the best rest when not playing. Hockey players normally don’t have a lot of free time, but I like to watch football and especially English leagues. I am sure I will try to go watch some football games too!"

Chiefs Leuven on Baškatovs:

“He played a lot which is important to him. He likes to spend a lot of time on the ice and always wants to do better. He top scored for the team but still felt his statistics should have been better. Deniss is a super motivated player who will want to grow as a player and challenge for all cups.”

Stars Media Team insiders on Baškatovs...

"Deniss comes to the Stars as a proven point scorer in his senior career in Belgium and the Netherlands as well as his home country of Latvia. He will have a big void to fill after the departure of fan favourite Dennis Boström who led the Stars in goals in his two seasons with the side. Baškatovs' previous team describe him as a hard worker who never wants to be off the ice and who is never satisfied with his performance so hopefully he will be able to produce at a good rate."
"After the departure of the Swedes, and particularly Dennis, it was important for the Stars to bring in someone who can score with the same regularity. Our new 'Deniss' looks like that player - his pedigree is excellent and his record speaks for itself. Having two Latvians should help both of them settle quicker too - much to be excited about for Stars fans."
"You wait all summer for a new import then two Latvians come along at once! Riga-born Baškatovs has scored at two points per game in the Belgian-Dutch League, a standard which compares with the upper end of NIHL. On paper a ready-made replacement for Dennis (one s) Boström to spearhead the forward lines. Will be interesting to see how the Stars balance the lines with an import forward and defenceman fitting around the "one import on the ice" rule. Welcome Deniss (two s's!) and wish you success in the NIHL with the Stars."

Deniss Baškatovs' #93 home and away jerseys are NOW AVAILABLE for 'own and loan' sponsorship on a first come, first served basis. Email billinghamstars@gmail.com stating which jersey you wish to sponsor. Sponsorship is £100 per jersey (or £180 for framing - please state if this is required).

Billingham Ice Hockey Club is also looking for any local businesses who would be able to offer Deniss the opportunity to work whilst he is in the UK. If you own a business that may be able to help, please contact Allen Flavell - allen@flavellwelding.co.uk.