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Unknown Canadian: Karl Stollery

As recently as last season defenseman Karl Stollery played some games in the National Hockey League. Eleven games with the New Jersey Devils, in fact.

The Camrose, Alberta native has played 23 career games in the big leagues, also seeing action with Colorado and San Jose. After graduating from Merrimack College with all-academic honours, the undrafted blueliner signed with the Avalanche's AHL farm team, leading to a NHL contract the following year.

The undersized puckmover headed to Riga, Latvia this season, eyeing some stability half way around the world, if that makes any sense.

"I wasn't thinking about the Olympic potential at the time, but I wanted to either make the NHL full-time last season or go overseas. I played 11 games with New Jersey last year, so it was a tough decision. But after five years in the AHL with some NHL up-and-downs, I decided I wanted to try Europe," he told CBC's Tim Wharnsby.

But once it was announced that the NHL was no longer going to the Olympics, Stollery was immediately identified as a player Team Canada's brain trust wanted.

It's an amazing honour and privilege to represent my country at the Olympics. It's something I never would've imagined was possible. This has been a very exciting time for my family and me. I'm looking forward to being a part of a great team and competing for a gold medal together.

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