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Avalanche Players at the 2010 Olympic Games

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Three Avalanche players will be representing their home countries at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver beginning Tuesday.

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Goaltender Peter Budaj will suit up for Slovakia, defenseman Ruslan Salei will represent Belarus, while center Paul Stastny will be playing for the United States.

Budaj will be making his second appearance for Slovakia at the Winter Olympics after playing at the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy. Salei has previously appeared at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan and the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 2010 Games will represent Stastny’s Olympic debut.

The Avalanche organization will also be sending defense prospect Jonas Holos to the Olympics, where he will represent Norway. Holos was a sixth-round selection by Colorado in the 2008 Entry Draft.

Men’s hockey at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games will kick off on Tuesday when Stastny and Team USA take on Switzerland at 1:00 p.m. MT.

Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco will be one of many interested viewers when his players hit the ice.

“I’m excited to watch the Olympics; our guys especially but the Olympics in general,” said Sacco. “I think it’s going to be a great tournament, a showcase of the best players in the world. I think it’s great for our game because people get to see how great our players really are. I’ll plan on trying to watch as many games as possible.”

What’s On Tap
In addition to Stastny and the United States taking on Switzerland, there will also be two other games on tap Tuesday.

Holos and Norway will face Team Canada at 5:30 p.m. MT, while Russia and Latvia will square off at 10:00 p.m. MT.

Budaj and Salei’s squads will open play on Wednesday, Feb. 17, when Slovakia plays the Czech Republic and Belarus opens against Finland.
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