Anze Kopitar was among the 25 players announced Monday to represent Slovenia in the country’s first Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey appearance. Slovenia, which has finished as high as 13th in the IIHF World Championships, upset favored Belarus and host Denmark in Group F Olympic qualifying last February.
Though Anze’s brother Gasper scored the overtime game-winner for the Ontario Reign last night – more about that later today – and now has three points in four ECHL games, the former L.A. Junior King was not named to the roster. Playing with Anze during the lockout last season, Gasper Kopitar recorded 14 points in 42 games for Mora IK in Sweden’s HockeyAllsvenskan.
Anze and Gasper Kopitar’s father, Matjaz Kopitar, is Slovenia’s coach. He spoke with LA Kings Insider in November about the challenge faced by Slovenia, which will open the tournament against host Russia on February 13 before facing Slovakia and the United States.
“The top 12 teams in the world, with all NHLers – that’s going to be a really great experience for all our boys. They have a big respect, of course, but I think we can be competitive if we’re going to be at our top level, because I’ve said many times already [that] we need to give more than a hundred percent to be competitive against these teams. I’m sure the boys will, because this is the biggest stage for them, anyway,” Matjaz Kopitar said.
Among the other notable names: 25-year-old KHL forward Jan Mursak, who appeared in 46 games with the Detroit Red Wings and 213 games with the Grand Rapids, and 24-year-old Ligue Magnus forward Bostjan Golicic, a teammate of Martin Jones and Brandon Kozun with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen from 2007-09.
Goaltenders: Luka Gracnar, Andrej Hocevar, Robert Kristan.
Defencemen: Blaz Gregorc, Sabahudin Kovacevic, Ales Kranjc, Ziga Pavlin, Klemen Pretnar, Mitja Robar, Matic Podlipnik, Andrej Tavzelj.
Forwards: Bostjan Golicic, Ziga Jeglic, Anze Kopitar, Anze Kuralt, Jan Mursak, Ales Music, Ziga Pance, Tomaz Razingar, David Rodman, Marcel Rodman, Robert Sabolic, Rok Ticar, Jan Urbas, Miha Verlic.