Winter Olympics 2002 Winter Olympics 2002


The global game

Posted: 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
G     Evgeni Nabokov
G     David Aebischer

D     Brian Leetch
D     Darius Kasparaitis
D     Sandis Ozolinsh
D     Robyn Regehr
D     Ruslan Salei
D     Nicklas Lidstrom

LW Steve Thomas
LW Peter Bondra
LW Jochen Hecht
LW Mariusz Czerkawski

C     Mario Lemieux
C     Sergei Fedorov
C     Richard Park
C     Espen Knutsen

RW Jaromir Jagr
RW Teemu Selanne
RW Zigmund Palffy
RW Owen Nolan

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 Check back regularly to read Cazeneuve's behind-the-scenes reports from Salt Lake City.

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