February 13, 2014

Sandis Ozolins Soldiers On


Here's a great story on the life and strange journey of Latvia's Sandis Ozolins, courtesy James Masters and Olivia Yusakawa of CNN.com.

Sochi has been preparing for an Olympics invasion -- but perhaps it didn't expect a former Soviet soldier to be leading the charge.

At least on this occasion, Sandis Ozolins wasn't armed with a Kalashnikov rifle when he marched into Russia.

This time, the 41-year-old skated into Sochi holding the Latvian flag and an ice hockey stick -- not to mention the memories of a Stanley Cup triumph in his bag.

Not bad for a man who only realized he'd been given the opportunity of a lifetime to become a star in the glitz and glamor of the National Hockey League while serving in the Soviet army back in 1991.

"Somebody came with the newspaper and showed me," Ozolins tells. "I had no idea I was going to be drafted -- I didn't know what the draft was. That came as a big surprise again and the team was the first-year team in the NHL, San Jose Sharks. "I didn't even know where it was! I thought it was somewhere in Latin America."

Enjoy the full story.

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