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Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Preview: Team Slovenia

Image Courtesy: sloveniatimes.com

Image Courtesy: sloveniatimes.com

Slovenia represents our final 2014 Olympic roster preview. A country of only two million people, this former Yugoslavian state is a country participating in their first Olympic ice hockey tournament. To say Slovenia, a country of only two million people, is an underdog would be an understatement. Gambling websites have them listed anywhere from 1000-1 to 2000-1 to win it all. Currently ranked 17th in the world, they are the lowest ranked team in the Olympic Games. Of course, just qualifying for the Olympic tournament is considered a monumental success for Slovenia.

Round robin opponents

Slovenia will compete in group A with Russia, USA and Slovakia.

How they got here

Slovenia was not one of the top 9 countries in the IIHF rankings, so they needed to win their qualifying group to book their ticket to Sochi. Their group included Belarus, Denmark and Ukraine. Slovenia qualified without their only marquee player, Anze Kopitar (he was playing in the NHL at the time), in emphatic fashion. They won all three games in regulation time en route to winning the group.

Notable players

Anze Kopitar is quite clearly Slovenia’s star player. The only other Slovenian to play in the NHL, Jan Mursak, will be joining Kopitar. The rest of the group is an unknown quantity to me. Many of the players that helped Slovenia qualify for this tournament play in low level leagues (ie. leagues that are inferior to the KHL, SEL, DEL, etc).

Outlook

Slovenia is not likely to last long in the Olympic tournament. They have three tough matchups in the round robin and are likely to get beat easily by all three teams. For a country whose highest honour before this year was a 13th place finish in the 2002 World Championships, wins and losses won’t matter in this tournament. Being able to prove they can compete with the best in the world is an accomplishment at this stage for Slovenia.

Other Roster Previews:

November 11: Russia

November 12: USA

November 13: Sweden

November 14: Czech Republic

November 18: Slovakia

November 19: Switzerland

November 20: Finland

November 21: Canada

November 26: Latvia

November 28: Austria

December 2: Norway

December 3: Slovenia

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4 Response to Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Preview: Team Slovenia

  1. Slovenian Hockey Team Honored To Qualify For Sochi | Thrive Sports on December 4, 2013

    […] Read more at robthehockeyguy.com […]

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  2. Tom on December 26, 2013

    Anze Kopitar is quite clearly Slovakia’s star player. Mistake. He is from Slovenia! Greetings from Slovakia

    Reply
  3. Robert Williams on December 26, 2013

    Haha… Good catch Tom! Whoops!

    Reply
  4. Robert Williams on December 26, 2013

    This is why I'm RobTheHockeyGuy and not RobTheSpellingGuy

    Reply

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