Another hockey country that does not get a whole lot of attention on the international stage is Slovenia.
Slovenia lays claim to basically one guy who has some hockey credentials; even if those credentials are winning a Stanley Cup with a team that has probably never even seen a real winter (Los Angeles).
Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar will likely be the only player (forward, d-man, goalie) that any of you will probably recognize when the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, takes place.
Slovenia was also the second nation to name its full roster, following the United States on New Year’s Day.
Asides from Kopitar on the forward line, here is a rundown of the rest of Team Slovenia:
Luka Gracnar, Andrej Hocevar and Robert Kristan.
Blaz Gregorc, Sabahudin Kovacevic, Ales Kranjc, Ziga Pavlin, Klemen Pretnar, Mitja Robar, Matic Podlipnik, Andrej Tavzelj.
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.
Slovenia emerged from its qualifying group to become one of the 12 nations in the men’s hockey tournament, despite being ranked 17th in the world. They beat out Belarus, Ukraine and Denmark to secure their first ever berth in the Olympic men’s tournament.
The nation’s best finish at the IIHF World Championships was 13th, which they achieved in both 2002 and 2005.
Slovenia will be grouped together with Russia, Slovakia and the United States in Sochi in Group A.
2010 finish: Slovenia did not compete in Vancouver.
2014 predictions: fourth place in Group A.