Sandis Ozoliņš

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Sandis Ozoliņš
Sandis Ozolinsh.jpg
Born (1972-08-03) August 3, 1972 (age 42)
Sigulda, Latvia
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 214 lb (97 kg; 15 st 4 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for Dinamo Riga
San Jose Sharks
Colorado Avalanche
Carolina Hurricanes
Florida Panthers
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
New York Rangers
Dinamo Riga
Atlant Moscow Oblast
National team  Soviet Union 
Unified Team &
 Latvia
NHL Draft 30th overall, 1991
San Jose Sharks
Playing career 1990–2014

Sandis Ozoliņš (born August 3, 1972), commonly spelled Sandis Ozolinsh /ˈsɑːndɨs ˈzlɪn/ in North America, is a politician and retired Latvian ice hockey player.[1] During his career in North America, Ozoliņš was a seven-time NHL All-Star, Stanley Cup champion, and Norris Trophy finalist. He is also the all-time leader for goals, assists, points and games played by a Latvian in the NHL and holds several Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks franchise records. Ozoliņš also was the highest paid sportsman in Latvian history, before NBA basketball player Andris Biedriņš succeeded him in 2008.

Ozoliņš was drafted in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks as the 8th pick of the 2nd round, 30th overall. He played for the Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and New York Rangers. He is often considered a prototype "offensive defenseman," becoming heavily involved in his team's offense and scoring opportunities.

In 2014 Ozoliņš was awarded Order of the Three Stars for his long-standing contributions to Latvian ice-hockey and sports.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Early playing career[edit]

Ozoliņš was drafted 30th overall by the San Jose Sharks in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft and had played for the Kansas City Blades, a minor league team in the International Hockey League. He and Latvian teammate Artūrs Irbe won a Turner Cup with the Blades in 1992.

National Hockey League[edit]

Ozoliņš joined the Sharks in 1992–93, scoring 23 points in 37 games. He missed the majority of his rookie season recovering from a knee injury suffered in a game against Philadelphia on December 30, 1992. After recovering from his injury, Ozoliņš ended the 1993–94 season with an 81-game, 26-goal/64-point sophomore effort, leading the league in goals by a defenceman. Ozoliņš helped the Sharks to move beyond the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, losing in the conference semifinals.

At the start of the 1995–96 season, San Jose traded Ozoliņš for Nordiques/Avalanche forward Owen Nolan. In 66 games during his first season, Ozoliņš scored 50 total points, with more than half on the power play. Ozoliņš won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1996. The following season Colorado won the Presidents' Trophy. After losing to the Detroit Red Wings in the 1997 conference finals, Ozoliņš finished third in votes for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the league's most outstanding defenceman. In the regular season he scored a career-high 68 points, second in the league for defencemen after Brian Leetch. Ozoliņš scored his first career hat trick on December 6, 1999 against the Vancouver Canucks.[3] 1999 was his final year in Denver, in which Ozoliņš made $4 million as Colorado's third-highest paid player.[4]

During the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Ozoliņš was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for Nolan Pratt and draft picks that became Václav Nedorost, Jared Aulin, and Agris Saviels. The agreement reunited Ozoliņš with fellow Latvian Artūrs Irbe. They had played together in Latvia and San Jose, shared an agent and together fund a youth hockey organization that buys equipment for children in Latvia. After expiration of Ozoliņš' Avalanche deal, he signed a five-year contract with Carolina worth more than $25 million. "When you have a player like Sandis, you're willing to spend the money," general manager Jim Rutherford said.[4] Ozoliņš didn't help Hurricanes to advance in the playoffs, and played just one and a half seasons with Carolina before being traded to the Florida Panthers.

Ozoliņš became a Panther after being acquired in 2001–02 mid-season from Carolina along with Byron Ritchie in exchange for Bret Hedican, Kevyn Adams, Tomáš Malec and a draft pick. Ozoliņš made his Panthers debut against Chicago on January 16, 2002. He wore #44 because #8 was already worn by Peter Worrell. Ozoliņš scored 10 goals and 19 assists in the remaining 37 games of the season. The Panthers did not make the playoffs during his time in Florida.

In midseason 2002–03, the Panthers sent Ozoliņš to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for Matt Cullen, Pavel Trnka and a draft pick. During the 2003 NHL All-Star weekend (several days after he had been traded), Ozoliņš skipped the NHL All-Star skills competition where he would have had to wear a Panthers uniform. "Participating in the All-Star Game is one thing, but the skills competition is another," said Ozoliņš, who was voted as an Eastern Conference starter. "It would look really unusual for a player to be representing his old team, so I thought this was the right thing to do." He was fined an undisclosed amount by the league.[5] Upon his arrival with the Ducks, Ozoliņš helped the club reach their first Stanley Cup Final, losing a seven-game series to the New Jersey Devils. In 2003–04, Ozoliņš battled injuries and was limited to 36 games.[6]

Following the lockout in 2004–05, Ozoliņš was dealt to the New York Rangers at the trading deadline for a third-round draft pick (which the Rangers had obtained earlier in a trade with the San Jose Sharks). With 14 points in 19 games in the 2005–06 season, Ozoliņš helped his team to advance to the playoffs, for which the Rangers had not qualified since 1997. In the next season on December 18, 2006, on the heels of a 6–1 loss to New Jersey, the Rangers placed Ozoliņš on waivers. After clearing waivers, Ozoliņš was assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL), but a short while later was put on the injured reserve list due to a knee injury.

Ozoliņš' later entered into the league's substance abuse program following a drunk driving arrest. After playing 2 games for the Worcester Sharks of the AHL and being cleared to play by doctors within the league's substance abuse program, he signed a one-year contract with San Jose on November 2, 2007. "That was a big turnaround this summer and I'm finally comfortable with what I am and what has happened, I actually feel pretty good and I do what I have to do and I do what I was advised to do. And I do it for myself and not for anybody else," said Ozoliņš.[7] In the 2007–08 NHL season he scored 3 goals and 13 assists in 39 games for the Sharks. He had a notable highlight reel save against the Anaheim Ducks, where as the puck slipped by goalie Evgeni Nabokov, and Ozoliņš slipped and fell as he made a stick save on the goal line.

Kontinental Hockey League[edit]

Dinamo Riga[edit]

After his season with Sharks Ozoliņš was offered a contract from Los Angeles Kings for a one-year deal worth $0.8 million, but he declined it[8] and went hiatus from hockey for a year.

On July 13, 2009, unexpectedly Ozoliņš signed a one-year deal with KHL home country team Dinamo Riga in which he started his senior career in 1990. Ozoliņš got back his #8 – the same number which he wore while playing for his first senior career team Dinamo Riga. By then Ozoliņš was attached as a captain for the first time in his career. In 2009–10 KHL season he was the team's leading scorer in point for a defensemen, scoring 5 goals and 20 assists in 43 games. In January 2010, Ozoliņš was selected to play on the starting roster for the Jaromír Jágr team in the KHL All-Star game, he was also selected to play in the KHL All-Star skills competition,[9] but, due to micro-injury, played only the first period and withdrew from the skills competition. On May 18, 2010, Ozoliņš extended his contract with Dinamo for another year, after he declined larger offers from four different KHL teams.[10]

In the first month of the 2010–11 KHL season Ozoliņš was honoured as the league's best defenseman after he registered 1 goal and 11 assists in 11 games, at the time being the league's leader in assists.[11] He was injured in the November 28 game against HC Sibir and missed all of the December due to broken ribs.[12] In January 2011, Ozoliņš was again selected to play on the starting roster in the KHL All-Star game.[13] Before the start of a 2011–12 KHL season Ozoliņš received an offer from KHL Gagarin Cup 2011 winners Salavat Yulaev Ufa to join the team, but he declined it.[10] During the 2011–12 KHL season, league's officials confirmed that the captain for the Western Conference Team in the All-Star Game 2012, which took place on January 21, 2012,would be Sandis Ozoliņš, versus the Eastern Conference team captained by Sergei Fedorov.[14][15] On July 12, 2012, Dinamo Riga board member Guntis Ulmanis has told Latvian radio station Baltkom that Sandis Ozoliņš has left KHL team Dynamo Riga as a free agent and could receive lucrative offers from Russia.[16] Since joining Riga, Ozoliņš has 22 goals and 65 assists in 158 regular season KHL appearances, serving as the team captain for every single appearance. During his time with Dinamo Riga, Ozoliņš earned several franchise records as a defenseman.

Atlant Moscow Oblast[edit]

On September 24, 2012, Ozoliņš signed a one-year deal with KHL team Atlant Moscow Oblast.[17] In his only season with Atlant in 2012-13, Ozoliņš was elevated as team captain and immediately served as a fixture on the blueline, producing 2 goals and 20 points in 42 games.

Return home[edit]

In the off-season, Ozoliņš made another return as a free agent to Dinamo Riga, signing a one-year contract on May 8, 2013.[18]

Retirement[edit]

On May 27, 2014 during interview on national television he announced his retirement from professional hockey and moving into politics.

International play[edit]

Medal record
Competitor for Commonwealth of Independent States Commonwealth of Independent States
World Junior Championship
Gold 1992 Germany Ice hockey
Competitor for Soviet Union Soviet Union
World Junior Championship
Silver 1991 Canada Ice hockey

Ozoliņš, who was born in Latvia, played hockey internationally for the Soviet Union until 1991. His first major international tournament was 1991 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, where he won a silver medal, losing in the gold medal game to Canada. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, he played under the new flag of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and won a gold medal at the 1992 World Junior Championships. During the tournament, the USSR was formally dissolved and the team was renamed as the Commonwealth of Independent States national junior team. Because Ozoliņš and Sergei Zholtok were from Latvia, which wasn't a member of the CIS, some other teams protested, but the protest was denied.[citation needed]

Ozoliņš didn't play again internationally until 1998 due to injuries and the NHL playoff schedule. In 1998, after losing with the Avalanche to the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs, Ozoliņš was able to rush to Switzerland and made his debut for Latvia in the elite division, where team Latvia had qualified for the second time since its independence in 1991. At that tournament he registered 1 goal and 2 assists. He again helped for his nation at the Men's World Ice Hockey Championship; he was able to participate because of the Hurricanes loss in the Conference quarterfinals. Latvia finished the tournament in 13th place. He played in next year's championship as well and one game during the 2002 Winter Olympics Ice hockey tournament. In the game verus Slovakia, Ozoliņš registered 4 assists, helping Latvia to a 6–6 tie.

After a three-year absence, Ozoliņš helped Latvia qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics Ice hockey tournament. It was intended to be his last international tournament; he announced his international retirement to the media following the conclusion of the Olympics.[19] In spite of his announced retirement he rejoined team Latvia in their bid to qualify for the 2014 Olympics.[20] The Latvian team, including Ozoliņš, did indeed qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, where they upset the Swiss to earn a berth in the quarterfinals, then lost to Canada to finish 8th.

Personal life[edit]

Ozoliņš was married to his secondary school schoolmate Sandra for more than 15 years, when in May 2010 Ozoliņš submitted an application for divorce.[21] He has two sons – Roberts(born in 1994) and Christopher(born in 1996). After divorce Ozoliņš dated Latvian TV ex-diva Anna Lieckalniņa.[22] Currently Ozoliņš is dating another TV diva from TV3 Latvia Agnese Vārpiņa.[23] During the off-season Ozoliņš resides in Denver, Colorado and most recently in Jūrmala, Latvia. Ozoliņš was the owner of Vilki OP/LaRocca of the Riga Open Championship until it's defunct in 2006. Ozoliņš also owns other Latvian sports ventures, including Latvia's first 18-hole golf course, Ozo Golf Club. In December 2009, Ozoliņš was voted as 2009 most popular sportsman in Latvia by internet voters.[24]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1990–91 Dynamo Riga Soviet 44 0 3 3 51  —  —  —  —  —
1991–92 Stars Riga CIS 30 6 0 6 42  —  —  —  —  —
1991–92 Kansas City Blades IHL 34 6 9 15 20 15 2 5 7 22
1992–93 San Jose Sharks NHL 37 7 16 23 40  —  —  —  —  —
1993–94 San Jose Sharks NHL 81 26 38 64 24 14 0 10 10 8
1994–95 San Jose Sharks NHL 48 9 16 25 30 11 3 2 5 6
1995–96 San Francisco Spiders IHL 2 1 0 1 0  —  —  —  —  —
1995–96 San Jose Sharks NHL 7 1 3 4 4  —  —  —  —  —
1995–96 Colorado Avalanche NHL 66 13 37 50 50 22 5 14 19 16
1996–97 Colorado Avalanche NHL 80 23 45 68 88 17 4 13 17 24
1997–98 Colorado Avalanche NHL 66 13 38 51 65 7 0 7 7 14
1998–99 Colorado Avalanche NHL 39 7 25 32 22 19 4 8 12 22
1999–00 Colorado Avalanche NHL 82 16 36 52 46 17 5 5 10 20
2000–01 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 72 12 32 44 71 6 0 2 2 5
2001–02 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 46 4 19 23 34  —  —  —  —  —
2001–02 Florida Panthers NHL 37 10 19 29 24  —  —  —  —  —
2002–03 Florida Panthers NHL 51 7 19 26 40  —  —  —  —  —
2002–03 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 31 5 13 18 16 21 2 6 8 10
2003–04 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 36 5 11 16 24  —  —  —  —  —
2005–06 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 17 3 3 6 8  —  —  —  —  —
2005–06 New York Rangers NHL 14 2 10 12 12 3 0 0 0 6
2006–07 New York Rangers NHL 21 0 3 3 8  —  —  —  —  —
2007–08 Worcester Sharks AHL 2 0 1 1 0  —  —  —  —  —
2007–08 San Jose Sharks NHL 39 3 13 16 24  —  —  —  —  —
2009–10 Dinamo Riga KHL 43 5 20 25 109 6 0 3 3 24
2010–11 Dinamo Riga KHL 41 6 26 32 62 11 0 7 7 12
2011–12 Dinamo Riga KHL 50 10 10 20 28 7 1 1 2 2
2012–13 Atlant Moscow Oblast KHL 42 2 18 20 26 5 0 1 1 2
2013–14 Dinamo Riga KHL 48 5 17 22 46 7 0 2 2 24
NHL totals 875 167 397 564 638 137 23 67 90 131
KHL totals 224 28 89 117 271 36 1 14 15 64

International[edit]

Year Team Comp GP G A Pts PIM
1991 USSR WJC 7 1 2 3 6
1992 USSR/CIS WJC 7 1 5 6 4
1998 Latvia WC 4 1 2 3 4
2001 Latvia WC 6 0 5 5 2
2002 Latvia OG 1 0 4 4 0
2002 Latvia WC 6 2 1 3 12
2005 Latvia OGQ 3 0 1 1 4
2006 Latvia OG 5 1 3 4 2
2013 Latvia OGQ 3 0 0 0 2
2014 Latvia OG 5 0 0 0 8
Junior totals 14 2 7 9 10
Senior totals 33 4 16 20 34

Awards[edit]

NHL

team

individual

KHL
International
Other

Records[edit]

Colorado Avalanche records[edit]

  1. Most single regular season goals by an Avalanche defenseman (1996–97) – 23
  2. Most single regular season points by an Avalanche defenseman (1996–97) – 68
  3. Most all-time regular season goals by an Avalanche defenseman  – 72
  4. Most single playoff assists by an Avalanche defenseman (1995–96) – 14
  5. Most single playoff points by an Avalanche defenseman (1996–97) – 19 (shared with Rob Blake)
  6. Most all-time playoff goals by an Avalanche defenseman – 18
  7. Most all-time playoff assists by an Avalanche defenseman – 49
  8. Most all-time playoff points by an Avalanche defenseman – 67

San Jose Sharks records[edit]

  1. Most single regular season goals by a Sharks defenseman (1993–94) – 26
  2. Most single regular season points by a Sharks defenseman (1993–94) – 64

Transactions[edit]

  • June 24, 2000 – Traded by the Colorado Avalanche, along with Columbus' 2000 2nd round draft choice, to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Nolan Pratt, Carolina's 2000 1st round draft choice, Carolina's 2nd round draft choice and Philadelphia's 2000 2nd round draft choice.
  • July 24, 2000 – Signed a five-year contract with Carolina Hurricanes worth more than $25 million.
  • March 9, 2006 – Traded by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to the New York Rangers in exchange for New York's 2006 3rd round draft choice.
  • November 2, 2007 – Signed a one-year deal for $0.65 million with the San Jose Sharks.
  • July 13, 2009 – Signed a one-year deal with the Dinamo Riga.
  • May 18, 2010 – Extended contract with Dinamo Riga for 2010–11 KHL season.
  • April 19, 2011 – Extended contract with Dinamo Riga for 2011–12 KHL season.
  • May 8, 2013 – Signed a one-year deal with the Dinamo Riga.
  • May 27, 2014 - Announced his retirement.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ozolinsh ends hockey career and enters politics=May 27, 2014". 
  2. ^ "Jaunākie piešķirtie apbalvojumi" (in Latvian). president.com. April 22, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sandis Ozolinsh – Game log – NHL.com – Players". NHL.com. August 3, 1972. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Hurricanes sign star defenceman Sandis Ozoliņš to five-year deal". Canoe.ca. July 24, 2000. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  5. ^ Brehm, Mike (February 2, 2003). "All-Star notes: Traded Ozolinsh finds West is East". Usatoday.Com. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  6. ^ "NHL Player Search – Player – Sandis Ozolinsh". Legends of Hockey. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Sandis Ozolinsh – Notes – NHL.com – Players". NHL.com. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  8. ^ "sportacentrs.com". sportacentrs.com. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Континентальная Хоккейная Лига – Стартовые составы". Khl.ru. January 15, 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "sportacentrs.com". sportacentrs.com. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Континентальная Хоккейная Лига – Лауреаты сентября". Khl.ru. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Sandim Ozoliņam nopietns savainojums – dinamoriga.lv". Dinamoriga.eu. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Континентальная Хоккейная Лига – Голосование завершено". Khl.ru. January 14, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Kontinental Hockey League – Official Website – Don’t miss the stars!". En.khl.ru. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ http://en.rian.ru/sports/20120712/174567266.html
  17. ^ "Atlant sign veteran NHL All-Star Ozolins" (in Russian). Atlant Moscow Oblast. September 24, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Sandis Ozolins returns to Dinamo Riga" (in Latvian). Dinamo Riga. May 8, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  19. ^ DELFI. "Pēc neveiksmīgās spēles ar Kazahstānu par aiziešanu no izlases paziņo Ozoliņš un Cipruss – DELFI". Delfi.lv. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  20. ^ Latvian roster for the Final Olympic Qualification in Riga
  21. ^ "Sandis Ozoliņš iesniedzis šķiršanās pieteikumu". Kasjauns.lv. May 29, 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  22. ^ DELFI. "Ozoliņš vairs neslēpj mīlu ar Lieckalniņu – DELFI". Mango.lv. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  23. ^ http://izklaide.delfi.lv/slavenibas/citi/sandim-ozolinam-jauna-mila-agnese-varpina.d?id=42531076
  24. ^ "Sandis Ozoliņš – populārākais Latvijas sportists internetbalsojumā". Kasjauns.lv. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Rodrigo Laviņš
Dinamo Riga captain
2009–2012
Succeeded by
Guntis Galviņš
Olympic Games
Preceded by
Martins Dukurs
Flagbearer for  Latvia
Sochi 2014
Succeeded by
Incumbent