Monday, May 11, 2009

2005 Slovakia National Team Miroslav Satan Jersey

The Republic of Slovakia was founded on January 1, 1993 when Czechoslovakia peacefully separated into Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Slovakia were first placed, somewhat unfairly, by the IIHF in the "C" Pool, while the Czech Republic, whose players dominated the former Czechoslovakian National Team, started life by being placed immediately into in the "A" pool.

Showing they were, in fact seeded too low, the Slovaks won the "C" Pool in 1994, earning promotion to the "B" Pool, which proved no problem for them either, as they would go on to win that in their first try in 1995 as well.

It was tougher going now that they were among the world's hockey elite in the "A" Pool, placing no higher than 7th over the next four years, but comfortably in the top group, never being threatened with relegation either. A glimpse of what was to come was shown by a fine Silver Medal in 2000, losing to rivals Czech Republic 5-3 in the final in St. Petersburg, Russia. The next year was a return to their previous form, as they again finished 7th.

But it all came right in 2002. Placing second in their group. Slovakia defeated Poland and Ukraine, but lost to Finland in the Preliminary Round. In the Qualification Round, they defeated Sweden,
Austria and Russia, proving they were to be reckoned with. In the Quarter Finals they eliminated Canada in regulation, coming from behind with two goals in the third, before having to go to a tense shootout to defeat Sweden to move into the Finals, again vs. Russia, where they won on a goal by the great Peter Bondra.

Today's featured jersey is a 2005 Slovakia National Team Miroslav Satan jersey. Satan was the leading scorer of the Slovak team which captured the World Championship in 2002. Today's style was used in the 2005 World Championships, where Satan captained the team. It's a Nike home white jersey, again featuring one of our custom made sponsorship patches from automaker Skoda, loyal sponsor of the IIHF World Championships.


Slovakia 2005 jersey photo Slovakia2005HF.jpg
Slovakia 2005 jersey photo Slovakia2005HB.jpg

Since that time, Slovakia has not been able to sustain the success they once achieved, finishing with the Bronze in 2003, then slowly sliding down to 4th, 5th, 8th, a bump back up to 6th and then having to fight off relegation for the first time while finishing a disappointing 13th in 2008 due to a combination of the retirement of stars like Bondra and Ziggy Palffy, as well as the NHL obligations of stars such as Marian Hossa and Zedeno Chara. For comparison, the 2002 team featured recognizable NHLers such as Lubomir Visnovsky, Lubos Bartecko, Bondra, Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, Vladimir Orzaugh, Palffy, Robert Petrovicky, Josef Stumpel and Satan, while the 2009 team has two NHL regulars, goaltender Jaroslav Halak from Montreal and Handzus.




Dasherboard: Speaking of the World Championships, Russia defeated Canada yesterday in a hard-fought 2-1 win with the game winning goal coming from stick-spinning former Nashville Predator Alexander Radulov.


Radulov finished the tournament with 4 goals and 6 assists for 10 points in 9 games, second in team scoring only to tournament MVP Ilya Kovalchuk (9-5-14). Russia was a perfect 10-0, surrendering only a single point in the standings to Sweden in a Russian win in overtime.

Radulov is perhaps the first player in hockey history to defect from the USA to Russia. Apparently the thought of another winter in Nashville proved too much to bear, as he chose to play this season in the sunny climes of Ufa, in the heart of scenic Bashkorostan.

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