The 2014 Winter Olympics are officially under way in Sochi, and for the first time in a long time, I'm interested in more than just the US and Canadian hockey teams. Hockey fans in the greater Seattle area should also be interested in checking out other teams, especially the one from the Czech Repbulic, as they may recognize a few names from the WHL's US Division teams (Everett Silvertips, Portland Winterhawks, Seattle Thunderbirds, Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans), plus an NHL star with deep roots in Western Washington.
Former Everett Silvertips (2009-2010) and current Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman RADKO GUDAS will help defend the blue line for Team Czech. Longtime Seattle Thunderbirds(and NHL) fans might get a kick out of seeing forward PETR NEDVED (1989-1990) play again. Petr's been active in the Czech league after retiring from the NHL in 2008. This is his second Olympics - he helped Team Canada win silver in 1994. The 42 year old will be joined by another spring chicken, 41 year old JAROMIR JAGR, who's still showing he can contribute at the NHL level, although I wish he'd go back to the Penguins instead of playing in New Jersey... Here's the Czech Republic's complete team roster.
Radko Gudas (Photo: Everett Silvertips/Frank Deines III)
Former T-Birds (1995-1997) and current San Jose Sharks forward PATRICK MARLEAU is helping represent Canada in his second Olympics. Former Tri-City Americans (2003-2007) and current Montreal Canadiens goalie CAREY PRICE has also been named to Team Canada. Canada is chock-full of WHL alumni. Click here for the complete roster.
Patrick Marleau (Photo: Seattle Thunderbirds)
Former Spokane Chiefs (2004-2007) and current New York Islanders forward MICHAEL GRABNER is representing Team Austria. Grabner joins another former Spokane Chief, defenseman Stefan Ulmer(2007-2010) on the Austrian team. Ulmer has been playing for Lugano in the Swiss A league since 2010. Complete Austrian team roster here.
Former Portland Winterhawks (1997-1998) and current Chicago Blackhawks) forward MARIAN HOSSA is suiting up for Team Slovakia, along with his brother MARCEL, who also played for the Winterhawks (1998-2001)and currently plays for Riga Dynamo in the KHL. Here's the complete roster.
Marian Hossa (Photo: Portland Winterhawks)
Team USA's roster includes St. Louis Blues' star forward TJ Oshie, who cut his hockey teeth with the Seattle Junior Hockey Association, before moving to Minnesota to attend the prestigious Warroad High School, then continue to hone his hockey skills at the University of North Dakota. Here's Team USA's complete roster.
TJ Oshie (Photo: St. Louis Blues)