MONTREAL - Tomas Tatar didn't have to travel far to participate in the 2019 IIHF World Hockey Championship.
His hometown of Dubnica nad Váhom is just a three-and-a-half hour drive from Košice where Tatar and the rest of the Slovakian contingent will open preliminary round play against the United States at Steel Arena on Friday night.
This marks the 28-year-old left-winger's fifth appearance at the annual event, and his first since 2015.
"I am very pleased to be back in Slovakia. After a long break, I can wear a national jersey again. It's great motivation with the World Championships being at home," said Tatar, in a Slovak Ice Hockey Federation Instagram post late last month. "It's something special."
Over the years, Tatar has registered eight goals and 17 points in 29 tournament games.
He claimed a silver medal in 2012.
An experienced soldier
Tatar is a veteran of international competition.
He burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old with a standout showing at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Ottawa, leading his squad with seven goals and 11 points in seven games.
Tatar also appeared in the event the following year as well, chipping in to the tune of three goals and five points in six outings.
In addition, the Canadiens' sniper boasts one Olympic appearance on his resume. He suited up for Slovakia at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, scoring once and collecting an assist.
A huge goal
Tatar's most recent international appearance came in 2016 when he was a member of Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey.
He led the group with three goals in six games.
One of those markers just happened to be the overtime winner in the semi-final matchup versus Sweden at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. It was his second goal of the contest.
The Europeans ultimately dropped a best-of-three final to Canada and finished second.