Jan 7, 2014, 8:20 AM EDT
For most of the 1990s, major hockey championships were decided among six nations — the U.S., Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic.
Slovakia bridged the gap with the turn of the century, making the quarterfinals of the 2006 Olympics and, in 2010, upsetting Sweden to reach the semifinals, where it put a scare into Canada.
It will be an outside medal threat in Sochi, leaning on goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenseman Zdeno Chara while injuries may keep two NHL All-Stars at home.
Potent forward Marian Gaborik has a broken collarbone, and experienced defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has been out since Oct. 19 with a concussion.
Both were named to the team but can be replaced by Feb. 12.
A key member of the 2010 Olympic Team was NHL All-Star Pavol Demitra, who died a year later in the KHL Lokomotiv plane crash.
Here’s the full Slovakia roster:
Peter Budaj — Montreal Canadiens
Jaroslav Halak — St. Louis Blues
Zdeno Chara — Boston Bruins
Martin Marincin — Edmonton Oilers
Andrej Meszaros — Philadelphia Flyers
Andrej Sekera — Carolina Hurricanes
Lubomir Visnovsky — New York Islanders
Marian Gaborik — Columbus Blue Jackets
Michal Handzus — Chicago Blackhawks
Marian Hossa — Chicago Blackhawks
Tomas Jurco — Detroit Red Wings
Tomas Kopecky — Florida Panthers
Richard Panik — Tampa Bay Lightning
Tomas Tatar — Detroit Red Wings
Milan Bartovic — former NHL player
Marcel Hossa — former NHL player
- Bruce Jenner: I’m a woman; Olympians react 4
- Michael Phelps to move to Arizona with coach Bob Bowman 0
- Simone Biles discusses Martha Karolyi’s team selfie, U.S. teammates, more 0
- Usain Bolt: Tyson Gay’s reduced ban ‘the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard’ 0
- Doug E. Doug reflects on ‘Cool Runnings’ 0
- Nadia Comaneci: Simone Biles’ difficulty is almost equal to men 0
- Ten sports where Brazil can win medals at Rio 2016 0
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)