Riga, Latvia (4E Sports) – The list of 12 protagonists in the men’s hockey event of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics is now complete after Austria, Latvia and Slovenia booked the last three spots.
Needing a point to advance, Austria returned to the Olympics for the first time since Salt Lake in 2002 despite losing to Germany, 3-2, in overtime.
The Germans, for their part, missed out on the Olympic hockey tournament for the first time since 1952.
The Latvians also lost, 3-2, to France in overtime but the point was enough for them to make it to the Olympics for the fourth straight time.
The team is coached by former Jack Adams Award winner Ted Nolan and features former NHL player Sandis Ozolinsh on defense.
Slovenia also made it to the Olympics via its perfect record in the qualifying round. The Slovenians defeated Belarus, 4-2, and followed it with a 2-1 triumph over Denmark.
Slovenia, coached by Matjaz Kopitar — father of Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar — closed the tournament out with a perfect record after a 6-1 victory over Ukraine on the last day.
“There was a live stream. I just didn’t want to watch it, because usually if I watch it, I’m too nervous, or something not good is happening,” Anze said.
The three teams join USA, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Norway in the Olympics.
The teams were divided into three groups, with Russia, Slovakia, United States and Slovenia in Group A.
Finland, Canada, Norway and Austria are in Group B while Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and Latvia are in Group B.
The full set of games is scheduled to be released sometime in May.