For two weeks in February, the sporting world will converge upon Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics, and the hockey world is no exception. The 2014 Winter Olympic hockey tournament truly is a global event. Not only are 12 countries competing for a gold medal, but the tournament is pulling in roughly 300 players from 19 different leagues.
Here is a quick rundown of what teams are represented, and how heavily each club is represented in Sochi.
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (Canada & the United States)
All 30 of the NHL’s member clubs are represented, ranging from a pair of players from the Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators, to 10 players from the St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues are represented by one goalie (Jaroslav Halak), three defensemen (Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk) and six forwards (Patrick Berglund, Alex Steen, Vladimir Sobotka, Vladimir Tarasenko, T.J. Oshie and David Backes). The Red Wings are represented by two goalies (Jimmy Howard & Jonas Gustavsson), two defensemen (Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall) and six forwards (Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Jurco, Tomas Tatar and Pavel Datsyuk). The Blackhawks are represented by four blueliners (Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya, Duncan Keith and Michal Rozsival) and six forwards (Marcus Kruger, Michal Handzus, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa).
Nine of the NHL’s top 10 leading scorers are headed to Sochi, with Joe Thornton the only top-10er not invited to the party.
OTHER NORTH AMERICAN LEAGUES
Four other players from three other North American leagues are represented. Latvian goalie Kristers Gudlevskis of the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, Swiss forward Simon Moser of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, Norwegian defenseman Henrik Odegaard of the CHL’s Missouri Maverick, and Latvian blueliner Ralfs Freibergs of the NCAA’s Bowling Green University.
KONTINENTAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (Russia and much of Europe)
Sixteen of the KHL’s 28 member clubs are represented at the Olympics, with 46 players involved. The leading team (and the team with the most representatives outside of the NHL) is Dynamo Riga, with nine players. In a related note, eight members of Dynamo Riga are part of the Latvian team at the Olympics. Shocker. Similarly, Slovan Bratislava is sending four players to Sochi as part of Team Slovakia. Four players from Moscow Dynamo are headed to Sochi, as are four members of SKA St. Petersburg – including Ilya Kovalchuk and Roman Cervenka.
One representative from the KHL’s minor league, the VHL, is also headed to the Olympics: Slovenian defender Sabahudin Kovacevic from Saryarka Karagandy.
Maybe it’s because Austria’s in the tournament this time, but there are a lot of players from Austria’s main domestic league. 22 players representing eight teams are going, including six players from Red Bull Salzburg and five players from Klagenfurter AC, including both goalies (Rene Swette and Fabian Weinhandl).
NATIONAL LEAGUE A (Switzerland)
Switzerland’s main league is sending 21 players from nine teams. The ZSC Zurich Lions are sending six players, while Geneve-Servette HC is sending four. The majority of the players are representing Switzerland, but there are others from Austria and Latvia also going.
SHL & HockeyAllsvenskan (Sweden)
11 players from Sweden’s primary league and five from their secondary league will be in action. Oddly, only one player (Jimmie Ericsson) will be representing Sweden. Everyone else will be representing either Norway, Slovenia or Austria. Notably representing Austria will be goaltender Bernhard Starkbaum, who has a really fun name and plays for Brynas IK.
Germany didn’t qualify for this year’s games, but they’re heavily represented via their primary league. Nine players from six teams are going to Sochi. Most of them are playing for the Slovenian team, although some are also representing Norway and Latvia.
Eight players from four Norwegian club teams will head to Sochi. All will be representing Norway. The most represented team is Valerenga Oslo, which will have five players at the Olympics.
CZECH EXTRALIGA (Czech Republic)
Five players from the Czech Extraliga, and one from its minor league, will be representing their countries in Sochi. The only team with multiple representatives is Bili Tygri Liberec, which is sending Latvia’s Koba Jass and Czech veteran Petr Nedved.
Four Finnish league players are headed to the Olympics: Espoo goalie Lars Volden (Norway), Jokerit defender Ossi Vaanen (Finland), and Karpat defender Lasse Kukkonen and forward Juhamatti Aaltonen (both Finland).
LIGUE MAGNUS (France)
Four players from France’s major league will be in Sochi.
SLOVAK EXTRALIGA (Slovakia)
Three players from three teams from the Extraliga will be in Sochi.
AL-BANK LIGAEN (Denmark)
One player from Denmark’s league is going – Latvian netminder Ervins Mustukovs from Esbjerg IK.
Finally, Latvia’s Armands Berzins will be taking a break from playing in Kazakhstan’s hockey league to compete in the Olympics.