The global gamePosted: Sunday February 10, 2002 2:24 AM
Many events in the Olympic Games can lay claim to universality. But these days, no winter sport can match the game once thought to be a Canadian outpost. Have a look at this makeshift team and see if, before you get to the bottom, you can pick out its unique feature. Note: Not all these players are comepeting in Salt Lake City. (Please forgive the fact that a few forwards are playing out of position.)
G Olaf Kolzig
D Brian Leetch
LW Steve Thomas
C Mario Lemieux
RW Jaromir Jagr
Here's your answer: Every one of these players was born in a different country.
The key of players and their nations of birth reads as follows:
Kolzig (South Africa), Nabokov (Kazakhstan), Aebischer (Switzerland); Leetch (United States), Kasparaitis (Lithuania), Ozolinsh (Latvia), Regehr (Brazil), Salei (Belarus), Lidstrom (Sweden); Thomas (England), Bondra (Ukraine), Hecht (Germany), Czerkawski (Poland); Lemieux (Canada), Fedorov (Russia), Park (South Korea), Knutsen (Norway); Jagr (Czech Republic), Selanne (Finland), Palffy (Slovakia), Nolan (Northern Ireland).
To further illustrate the point, if we included retired players, hockey would be even more wide-reaching: Paul Popiek (Denmark), Willi Plett (Paraguay), Steve Smith (Scotland), Ivan Boldirev (Yugoslavia), Rod Langway (Taiwan) and Rick Chartraw (Venezuela).
Sports Illustrated staff writer Brian Cazeneuve is in Utah covering the Games for the magazine and CNNSI.com. Check back regularly to read Cazeneuve's behind-the-scenes reports from Salt Lake City.