Elvis Merzlikins had a difficult childhood. As a kid he lived in Latvia, in Lugano, then he moved back to Latvia and finally, during adolescence, he came back to Lugano in order to play hockey while his mother stayed in Latvia. That was a strong-making decision. Strong just like the character of this spectacular goalie that, on the last day of 2019, has entered the building and finally had his dream night. The night he has dreamed of since when he was a boy, because he knew that, one day he would become a star in the NHL.
Elvis Merzlikins was born on April 13th, 1994, in Riga (Latvia), when the Columbus Blue Jackets weren’t even an NHL team. He played junior hockey for Hockey Club Lugano – admittedly his favourite team – and made his debut with the first team in the National League (top tier of Swiss hockey) on September 28th, 2013. On that day, the game between Lausanne and Lugano was scheduled and Elvis, back then 19 years old, helped Lugano earn a 2-1 shootout road win. That was an impressive debut, ended with Elvis saving the last shootout of the night!
29.09.2013 – LAUSANNE HC vs HC LUGANO 1-2 (SO)
The goals were scored by Caryl Neuenschwander (Lausanne) and Thomas Ruefenacht (Lugano).
From that moment on, Elvis’ career literally took off. Over the years in Lugano, Elvis Merzlikins turned out to be one of the most brilliant talents around. Despite his young age, he always put an impressive charisma on display and, soon enough, he became one of the main strengths for Lugano. As a goalie, Elvis immediately proved to be extremely agile, he proved to have above-average skills and – most and above all – he proved capable of being at the top of his game when under pressure.
Not for nothing, he won the “Jacques Plante Trophy” (goalie of the year) both in 2015-16 and in 2017-18. Two seasons during which he played a key role in Lugano’s fantastic rides that led the club to times to reach the final (both lost).
Previously instead, in 2014, Elvis was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets. And his path towards the NHL was, in our opinion, handled in a very smart way too. Elvis, also supported by his agent Hnat Domenichelli and by his mental coach Fausto Donadelli, improved day after day. And finally, deservedly, last summer he crossed the ocean in order to live out his life-long dream of playing in the NHL.
Initially, let’s face it, it was a rude awakening for Elvis in Columbus. His first few performances weren’t excellent. There were even those who started to wonder whether Elvis had what it takes to play in the most prestigious league of the world.
Those who were lucky enough to follow Elvis’ career, however, knew that it would be only a matter of time before the young Latvian goalie – who plays with Swiss licence – could make his mark in NA. This because, as we said previously, Elvis has an impressive mental strength and an out of the ordinary will to succeed.
And so, Elvis Merzlikins worked hard. He had to adapt to a different style of play. He even played few games in the AHL with the Cleveland Monsters. Until when, on December 31st, 2019, he finally had his dream night. The one that, allegedly, he’s been waiting for since when he was a little kid. Namely, his first NHL win during the game between Columbus Blue Jackets and Florida Panthers. A game that saw the Blue Jackets earn a 4-1 home win.
What a dream night for Elvis. He made 36 saves, he had a 97.3% saving percentage and was even named the second star of the night!
A night to celebrate. How? Well, the way only Elvis can do… by expressing pure joy!
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) January 1, 2020
Why do we say “the way only Elvis can do”? Well, because those who were lucky enough to follow him, know that Elvis can get into symbiosis with his fans. In Lugano, he became a real idol thanks to his performances but also thanks to his attitude. Do you want a proof of that?
And now, the Blue Jackets’ fans just can’t wait to see more of Elvis Merzlikins. They had to wait a little bit, but it was worth.
There are people saying that Elvis was “penalized” by the fact that, until December 31st, he’d always played away games. And we think that this is true. We mean, it’s true that you’re less under pressure when you play on the road.
But the truth is that Elvis lives on pressure! In fact, he’s almost always at the top of his game right when he is under pressure.
And so, on the last day of the year 2019, Elvis Merzlikins has entered the building. Now, after the game Elvis has left the building… temporary only. Because, soon enough, he’ll get back to impress the whole world!
It’s clear that now it’s also time to be down to earth and to keep working hard. But we have no doubt about the fact that this guy will keep his feet on the ground and will continue to work hard. Because Elvis, who may even look “arrogant” from the outside, has a great culture of work and knows exactly what he must do to get to the top. And he will make it.
Therefore, we just can’t wait for the next time Elvis will enter the building… because now that he is in, he is in to stay. And to entertain his fans both on and off the ice.
Congratulation man! live your dream!