Slovenia was not invited to participate in the qualifying process for the 1994 Olympics and did not qualify for the 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 Games.
They were relegated back to Division I Group B in 2003 but won an immediate promotion back to the Top Division in 2004. Two years later they repeated the process with a relegation in 2006 and an immediate return to the top in 2007, only to face the drop once again in 2008. They currently find themselves stuck in the position of being unable to defend their place among the world's elite, but strong enough to handle Division I, as the have alternated promotion and relegation every year since 2010. With their relegation in 2013, they will once again be looking to win Division I Group A in the spring of 2014.
The remainder of the Slovenian roster draws heavily from teams that play throughout Europe, including Jan Muršak of CSKA Moscow of the KHL. The remainder of the roster currently plays in the Germany DEL (7 players), Austria (5), France (4), the Swedish second division (3) and one each in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Russian second division and the Czech second division.
Sometimes just competing in the Olympic tournament is it's own reward, and Slovenia should take it all in and enjoy the atmosphere of participating in their first Olympics. Who knows? Belarus knocked Sweden out of the tournament in 2002 and every now and then, miracles can happen...
After one more season in with Södertälje, Kopitar is now in his eighth season with Los Angeles, which includes leading the team in scoring five times, being named their most popular player twice and their best defensive player in 2011 - during the same season he also led the club in scoring!
He also became the first Slovenian to win the Stanley Cup in 2012 and is easily the most accomplished Slovenian player of all time. He is now approaching 200 NHL goals, currently at 186 and has appeared in two NHL All-Star Games.
Internationally, Kopitar has skated for Slovenia three times each at the U18 World Championships, the U20 World Championships and the IIHF World Championships. Obviously, with Slovenia qualifying for the Olympics for the first time, this will be Kopitar's first Olympic participation.
Once they hit the ice, the jerseys will most assuredly be a talking point as to why the green color. A clue for the reason for the green can be found in the jersey's waist striping, as it represents the mountains of Slovenia as well as the leaves of the lime tree, which is prevalent throughout the country. Additionally, the coat of arms of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, features a green dragon and their national soccer team is known as the Green Dragons. We wonder if anyone will be wearing a Kopitar version at the Staples Center for a Kings game later this season?
Finally, the happy reaction from the team after securing their place in Sochi.