Kopecky, a first time Olympian, will be playing on the men’s national team for the first time. The only time he has represented Slovakia on the international stage was the 2002 World Junior Championship.
He joins fellow Chicago Blackhawk Brent Seabrook as the only two former Lethbridge Hurricanes to be competing at the 2010 Olympics – Kopecky played for Lethbridge in the WHL from 2000-2002, and Seabrook 2000-2005.
It was a big dream. [Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetzov] as well. It's maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the best player in soccer right now. I'm a big Barcelona fan and Messi fan, so it's huge. You can take [Michael] Jordan, [Mark] Messier, [Wayne] Gretzky, those kinds of [people]. It's an honor to meet. It's nice to be in that position.
— Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin told told Monumental Network after meeting soccer star Lionel Messi prior to Argentina's practice at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md. on Friday