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Anze Kopitar, Slovenia begin play in the 2019 IIHF World Championships

Belarus v Slovenia - 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images

Everyone is gearing up for the main event of the 2019 IIHF World Championships, where Sweden (Adrian Kempe!) will be looking to go back-to-back with gold medals.

Those games kick off May 10; the NHL Network will be airing all of Team USA’s games, as well as the quarter/semifinals and medal rounds.

But enough about those big hockey countries like Canada and Sweden and the United States. They get all the press. Everyone cares real hard about them.

Know who doesn’t get a ton of press?

Slovenia.

Here at Jewels from the Crown, we’ve got a long history of supporting Slovenian hockey, and we’re proud to return to the Slovenia beat once again.

This year, with the long summer looming, Kings captain Anze Kopitar has opted to play for his national team again. He last played for Slovenia during the 2016-17 season, where he played in three games to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.

Slovenia’s men’s team was relegated from the top division in the IIHF to Division IA after going winless at the 2017 IIHF World Championships. In 2018, they narrowly avoided being relegated from Division IA, coming in fifth place (out of six teams) with two wins and three losses. (Poland won one game and lost four and was relegated.)

The Division IA World Championships kick off this week and are being held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Aside from Slovenia, the other teams in the division are Belarus, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Hungary, and Lithuania. Lithuania was promoted from Division IB last year.

Slovenia saw its first game in the tournament today, playing against the host country of Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, with all three goals coming in a 12-minute span. Two of the goals were power play goals, as Slovenia took four penalties in the first period. While Slovenia made a valiant effort in the third, scoring two goals, they weren’t able to complete the comeback.

Our esteemed captain logged 19:15 of ice time, won 13 of 26 faceoffs (the most faceoffs taken by far by anyone on the Slovenian team), and registered an assist on Slovenia’s second goal, which came on the power play.

A replay of the full game is available on the IIHF’s website.

Schedule

April 29 against Kazakhstan

April 30 against South Korea (3:00 a.m. Pacific)

May 2 against Belarus (3:00 a.m. Pacific)

May 3 against Hungary (6:30 a.m. Pacific)

May 5 against Lithuania (11:30 p.m. Pacific)

Games do appear to be streamed via the IIHF’s website and Youtube channel. Replays are available in the event that you don’t actually want to wake up (or, uh, stay awake, I guess) at 3:00 in the morning to watch hockey.

If you’re adept with an online translator of your choice, or if you happen to read Slovenian, you can follow along with the Slovenia Ice Hockey Twitter account for updates, photos, and videos, like this one: