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Another former UAA hockey player will skate at Olympics

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: January 24, 2018
  • Published January 24, 2018

Luka Vidmar, a UAA defenseman from 2007-11, was named to Slovenia’s Olympic hockey team this week.  (ERIK HILL / ADN archive 2010)

The uniforms won't be green and gold, but Team UAA will boast two hockey players at the Winter Olympics next month.

Luka Vidmar, a defenseman for the Seawolves from 2007-11, was named to Slovenia's Olympic hockey team earlier this week, becoming the second former UAA player to score a trip to Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Mat Robinson, a former Seawolves captain, earned a spot on Canada's team earlier this month.

Both are beneficiaries of the NHL's decision to end its ties with the Olympics, making Pyeongchang the first Olympics since 1994 without NHL stars. Vidmar, who is from Ljubljana, Slovenia, plays professionally in Austria and Robinson, who is from Calgary, plays professionally in Russia.

Vidmar, has played for Slovenia at numerous international tournaments, including three World Championships, but he's never been on his nation's Olympic team.

"I am looking forward to the whole experience from the opening ceremony, to our games and watching other events and athletes all perform in the biggest sporting event in the world," Vidmar told UAA's sports information department . "I want to showcase Slovenia in the highest possible way."

Though making the team wasn't a surprise given his history with the national team, Vidmar said it was a huge honor.

"(I)t is one of the biggest honors to represent your country at the Olympics," he said.

Slovenia, which became a country in 1991, will make its second Olympic appearance in men's hockey. In the country's Olympic debut in 2014, Slovenia went 1-3 in a pool that included Russia, the United States and Slovakia.

The team's only victory at the Sochi Olympics was a 3-1 decision over rival Slovakia — a win that is considered one of the great moments in Slovenia hockey history. According to a Reuters report at the time, Slovenia had fewer than 150 adult men's players in the entire country in 2014.

"Being from a country of only two million people and qualifying for the Olympics for the second time in a row is our Miracle on Ice," Vidmar said.

Mat Robinson, a former UAA captain, will play for Canada next month at the Winter Olympics. (ERIK HILL / ADN archive 2008)

Vidmar scored six goals and 27 assists in 114 career games for the Seawolves. For two seasons he was teammates with Robinson, who played for UAA from 2005-09.

"I haven't had a chance to speak with him yet," Vidmar said, "but I am sure we will connect in Pyeongchang and I look forward to catching up."

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