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Tomas Jurco
01/07/2014 9:56 AM -

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Griffins forward Tomas Jurco on Tuesday was named to the Slovakian Olympic Team that will compete at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, next month.

Jurco is set to become just the fifth player in franchise history to participate in the Olympics while an active Griffin, joining Sergei Kolosov (2010 Belarus), Niklas Kronwall (2006 Sweden), Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (2010 Norway) and Julien Vauclair (2002 Switzerland). Teamed on the Slovakian squad with former Griffins Tomas Kopecky and Tomas Tatar, the 2013 Calder Cup and 2011 Memorial Cup champion will be among a contingent of 12 Griffins alumni competing for seven different nations during the Games.

"It’s really exciting for me, obviously," said Jurco, who previously represented his country in a pair of World Junior Championships (2011 and 2012) as well as the World U18 Championship (2009). "It’s been a while since I wore a Slovakian jersey. This is something that I’m really excited about and really looking forward to.

“It was this morning when I found out. They had a conference back home at 1 p.m., which is 7 a.m. here in Grand Rapids. I was still sleeping, but my phone woke me up because it was always vibrating. People were sending me texts and calling me, so I knew something was going on and that I probably got the spot on the Slovakian team. So, I woke up at 7 a.m., which is unusual for me because I usually like to sleep, but I was really happy. I don’t think that I’ll fall asleep tonight.”

Sweden edges out Slovakia with four former Griffins on its roster -- Jonathan Ericsson, Jonas Gustavsson, Kronwall and Gustav Nyquist -- while five other countries have a single Grand Rapids alum within their ranks: Finland (Valtteri Filppula), Norway (Tollefsen), Slovenia (Jan Mursak), Switzerland (Vauclair) and the United States (Jimmy Howard). 

In the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, Kronwall became the first Griffins alumnus to earn an Olympic medal, winning gold thanks to Sweden’s victory over Finland in the championship game. Filppula became the second to medal in 2010 in Vancouver, earning a bronze with Finland.

The preliminary round of the 2014 Olympic men's hockey tournament runs Feb. 12-16, followed by the qualification round (Feb. 18-19), semifinals (Feb. 21 at 7 a.m. and noon ET), Bronze Medal Game (Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. ET) and Gold Medal Game (Feb. 23 at 7 a.m. ET).


 Griffins in the Olympics (1984-2010)

Participated While Playing for the Griffins
Player Country Year/Site Finish
Sergei Kolosov Belarus 2010/Vancouver 9th
Niklas Kronwall Sweden 2006/Turin Gold
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen Norway 2010/Vancouver 10th
Julien Vauclair Switzerland 2002/Salt Lake City 11th


Participated After Playing for the Griffins
Player Country Year/Site Finish
Aigars Cipruss Latvia 2006/Turin 12th
Aigars Cipruss Latvia 2002/Salt Lake City 9th
Pavol Demitra Slovakia 2010/Vancouver 4th
Pavol Demitra Slovakia 2006/Turin 5th
Pavol Demitra Slovakia 2002/Salt Lake City 13th
Valtteri Filppula Finland 2010/Vancouver Bronze
Erich Goldmann Germany 2002/Salt Lake City 8th
Jani Hurme Finland 2002/Salt Lake City 6th
Tomas Kopecky Slovakia 2010/Vancouver 4th
Niklas Kronwall Sweden 2010/Vancouver 5th
Stefan Liv Sweden 2010/Vancouver 5th
Rastislav Pavlikovsky Slovakia 2002/Salt Lake City 13th
Robert Petrovicky Slovakia 2002/Salt Lake City 13th
Konstantin Shafranov Kazakhstan 2006/Turin 9th
Andrei Sryubko Ukraine 2002/Salt Lake City 10th
Julien Vauclair Switzerland 2006/Turin 6th


Participated Before Playing for the Griffins
Player Country Year/Site Finish
Slava Butsayev Unified Team 1992/Albertville Gold
Chris Chelios USA 2006/Turin 8th
Chris Chelios USA 2002/Salt Lake City Silver
Chris Chelios USA 1998/Nagano 6th
Chris Chelios USA 1984/Sarajevo 7th
Erich Goldmann Germany 1998/Nagano 9th
Jonas Gustavsson Sweden 2010/Vancouver 5th
Todd Hlushko Canada 1994/Lillehammer Silver
Curtis Joseph Canada 2002/Salt Lake City Gold
Mike Knuble USA 2006/Turin 8th
Stefan Liv Sweden 2006/Turin Gold
Kevin Miller USA 1988/Calgary 7th
Michael Nylander Sweden 2002/Salt Lake City 5th
Michael Nylander Sweden 1998/Nagano 5th
Robert Petrovicky Slovakia 1998/Nagano 10th
Robert Petrovicky Slovakia 1994/Lillehammer 6th
Travis Richards USA 1994/Lillehammer 8th
David Roberts USA 1994/Lillehammer 8th
Mikael Samuelsson Sweden 2006/Turin Gold
Konstantin Shafranov Kazakhstan 1998/Nagano 8th

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