Stastny Carried The Flag For Slovakia

P.Stastny-Slovakia

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The new nation of Slovakia competed at the Winter Olympic Games for the very first time at Lillehammer in 1994. Chosen to carry the flag, always a great honor for any athlete of any sport for any nation, on behalf of Slovakia was 37-year-old PETER STASTNY. The captain of the Slovak ice hockey team, had defected from his club team Slovan Bratislava while playing in Austria seven months after skating for Czechoslovakia at the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid.

Stastny signed with the Quebec Nordiques and quickly established himself as an impact player in the National Hockey League. The 6’1″ 200 lb center scored 100 or more points his first six seasons in the league and was chosen to play for the title-winning host nation at the 1984 Canada Cup. Only mega-star Wayne Gretzky totaled more points totaled more points than Stastny for the decade of the 1980s in all the NHL.

Stastny retired from the NHL’s New Jersey Devils at the conclusion of the 1992-93 campaign but was convinced by hockey authorities to skate for Slovakia at the Lillehammer Games in the end.

With the aging veteran leading the way, Slovakia upended eventual silver medalist Canada 3-1 and went unbeaten in the round-robin. However, the Slovaks would fall to Russia 3-2 in overtime at the quarterfinal hurdle. Still, Stastny did more than just wear the sweater and provide inspiration for his country’s national team.

Five goals and nine points in eight games earned Stastny a place on the tournament all-star team in Norway.

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PETER STASTNY is the only hockey player in history to represent three different countries at major international events:

  • 6 app – 50 ga – 25 go – 29 as – 54 pts — Czechoslovakia
  • 1 app — 8 ga —- 1 go — 2 as — 3 pts — Canada
  • 1 app — 8 ga —- 5 go — 4 as — 9 pts — Slovakia

Stastny also played for Slovakia at the B pool of the IIHF World Championships in 1995. There, the 38-year-old tallied eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in just six games to steer Slovakia to the title and promotion. Slovakia have remained in the A pool at the World Championships annually since 1996.

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Peter’s son, PAUL STASTNY, will represent the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver next month.

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