While this bears no impact on the Los Angeles Kings as a whole, the news is a great victory for the Kopitar family as Slovenia has qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia.
Team Slovenia, led by head coach (and Anze’s father) Matjaz Kopitar, scored an upset of host Denmark in Group F qualifying on Friday, one day after defeating Belarus 4-2.
Coach Kopitar referred to the victory as a miracle and why not? In the Men’s World Rankings, Denmark and Belarus were ranked 12th and 13th respectively while Slovenia was ranked 18th. With their qualification for 2014, Slovenia will be placed in Group A during the Olympics with host Russia, Slovakia and the United States.
In addition to Matjaz, Anze’s younger brother Gasper, who played in both of his country’s recent victories, will also be taking part in next winter’s Olympiad. While a decision has yet to be made in regards to the allowance of NHLers participating in 2014, it is most likely that they will be allowed and once an agreement is finalized, expect Anze to join his father and brother in representing their native Slovenia in Sochi in twelve months time.
It certainly is a great day and a great accomplishment for Slovenia’s hockey program and more specifically, the Kopitars. Congratulations.