Luxury of freedom


Hockey Team Players Representing Slovenia At PyeongChang

The selector of the Slovenian hockey team Kari Savolainen has selected candidates for the Olympic performance in South Korea. Savolainen and his assistant Nik Zupančič also included some reserves in the list, which they will count on in case of any complications with the selected players.

"There is a selection of players who, according to the selector and the entire staff deserve to take part in the Olympics, I am not the one who decided, although that this was the most difficult task to do, I have already felt this myself. It is easier to lead the team and trainings than to decide, who will travel to the Games. The selection was made with good faith and in order to achieve the best results, "said assistant coach Nik Zupančič. 

"There was a lot of scouting," Kari said, "I was watching many games myself, we were very much in the field." He is a trainer who wants to hear an opinion and is not a man who decides on everything. In the end, the decision is as it is, “not everyone will not be happy with the choice, said Zupančič.

"Our competitors slowly reveal national teams. It is good for us that all the boys are in the competition. It was always good for our games because we are being beaten by a small base, but on the other hand it's good that boys are well acquainted and do not need a longer period to play again. It's also good that everyone is healthy - if there are injuries to players who are most important to us, they can beat us on ice." Zupancic thinks about the possibilities in the upcoming tournament. Even with regard to goals, Zupančič was still cautious: "Of course, the quarter-finals can be the goal, but by that time, three good matches have to be played first."

There are also some surprises on the list: among the chosen athletes is Andrej Hebar, the only hockey player from Slovenian club  Ljubljana SŽ Olimpija, and there is no one from the team of state champions from Jesenice. Only Andrej Tavželj is on the reserve list. 

Dejan Kontrec, the director of the Ice Hockey Federation of Slovenia , who will also be the head of the hockey team, explained some technical details and logistics. " Travel is a great bite. Kari also thought this well, we will stick to our timetable and rhythm. We will gather in Brnik on February 6, we want to go to the games as a team. We are still negotiating with some clubs because it is our intention that their players come later. They will work hard on February 9, when we will have to open the games in the mountain olympic venue. So far, it was much better in Sochi because we had everything at hand, and there will be much more logistics and transport. " Before the games, Slovenia will play a friendly match on February 8 with the home team in Seoul.

In the list of passengers for the Olympic Games in PyeongChang are:

  • Goalkeepers: Luka Gracnar (Salzburg), Matija Pintaric (Rouen) and Gašper Krošelj (Rödövre)
  • Defenders: Blaz Gregorc (Hradec Kralove), Sabahudin Kovachevich (Karlovy Vary), Aleš Kranjc (Crimmitischau), Žiga Pavlin (Česke Budejovice), Matic Podlipnik (Karlovy Vary), Jurij Repe (Kladno), Mitja Robar (KAC Klagenfurt), Luka Vidmar (Fehervar)
  • The attackers: Boštjan Goličič (Grenoble), Andrej Hebar (SŽ Olimpija), Žiga Jeglič (Neftehimik), Anže Kuralt (Amiens), Jan Muršak (Frölunda), Aleš Mušič (Fehervar), Ken Ograjenšek (Graz 99ers), Žiga Pance (Dornbirn ), Rodman (Grenoble), Marcel Rodman (Tölzer Löwen), Robert Sabolic (Torpedo), Rok Ticari (Sibir), Jan Urbas (Fischtown Pinguins) and Miha Verlic (VSV Villjak).

On the reserve list are goalkeeper Robert Kristan, defenders Miha Štebih and Andrej Tavželj, as well as attackers Jan Drozg, Rok Pajič and Anže Ropret.

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