Реклама в Интернет * Все Кулички

Rambler's Top100

Girgensons to play in Olympics
8 января 2014 года. Telegraph - Herald. Leitner, Jim

Zemgus Girgensons fulfilled a life-long dream two days after his 20th birthday.

The former Dubuque Fighting Saints captain will represent his native Latvia in the Olympic Games next month in Sochi, Russia. His Buffalo Sabres head coach, Ted Nolan, also serves as the head coach of the Latvian national team, which also includes former Dubuque defenseman Arvids Rekis.

"It's definitely an honor to play for your country,"Girgensons said Tuesday morning after the announcement. "For a Latvian hockey player, it means everything to play for your country. It's the biggest thing back home. Hockey's the No. 1 sport. The fans love it. So, it's an honor to be there.

"The Olympics happen only once every four years, and you don't know if the NHL guys are (always) going to get to go."

Girgensons represented Latvia at the World Junior Championships in 2011-12, his second and final season in Dubuque. After signing with the Sabres that summer and spending a season with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, he played for the Latvians again in the World Championships.

In his rookie season with the Sabres, Girgensons has four goals and 10 assists in 41 games. He is the lone current NHL player on the Latvian roster.

"The one thing you can't teach somebody is that work ethic that he has," Nolan told the Buffalo News earlier this season. "Those are the building blocks in which we're going to turn this organization around and turn this team around. It's through people like that with some strong character and a will to get better."

Nolan has coached the Latvian national team since 2011.

"He's been around me for a while now, and he knows what I bring to the table, on and off the ice," Girgensons said of Nolan. "It's great to have a person who knows what you can do as your coach. It helps me, and it'll help the team.

"He's very good with mentoring his guys and motivating them. In tournaments like the Olympics and the World Championships, it's a short schedule, and it's all about will and how motivated you are to play. He's a perfect fit."

Girgensons won't be the only former Saints player on the Latvian bench in Sochi. Rekis played defense for Dubuque during the 1995-96 season, one year after Girgensons was born. He accumulated three goals, three assists and 85 penalty minutes in 35 USHL games.

The 35-year-old Rekis played in North America until 2003 and advanced as high as the AHL before resuming his professional career in Germany. For the past four seasons, he has skated for Dynamo Riga in the Kontinental Hockey League - Russia's version of the NHL.

Rekis represented Latvia at the Olympics in 2006 and 2010. He has no points and a minus-2 rating in nine Olympic games.

Nolan also selected 41-year-old Dynamo Riga defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, the man Girgensons supplanted as the highest-drafted Latvian in NHL history. Ozolinsh went 30th overall to the San Jose Sharks in 1991, and Buffalo selected Girgensons with the 14th pick in 2012.

The Latvian Olympic team also includes defenseman Ralphs Freibergs, who played for Lincoln of the USHL and now skates for Bowling Green. He was the lone NCAA player selected to a 2014 Olympic squad.

Страничка Земгуса Гиргенсонса на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года