May 27, 2012, 10:26 PM EDT
Hockey is truly an international sport, with stars coming from Canada, the United States, Russia, Sweden and plenty of other locales. Still, there are some relatively uncharted territories, but the Los Angeles Times reports that Anze Kopitar‘s run to the 2012 Stanley Cup finals is making some waves in his native Slovenia.
“There is actually a pretty big buzz back there,” Kopitar said. “I’ve been going on online and reading some of the news from back there. The Kings are pretty big.”
“There are more and more kids playing hockey.”
As for whether he is responsible, Kopitar said, “Maybe a little.”
There’s another reason to dig Kopitar: (false?) modesty in huge quantities. If you see future Slovenian exports, they’re likely to honor their country’s first true star (sorry, Jan Mursak) by wearing his No. 11 or at least crediting him with inspiration.
Don’t be surprised if a few Los Angeles-born hockey players claim Kopitar as their hero too, though.
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