Already a Stanley Cup winner from his days with the Pittsburgh Penguins, new Dallas defenseman Sergei Gonchar is hoping to add Olympic gold to his list of career accomplishments when the 2014 Games are played this February in Sochi, Russia.
For 39-year-old Gonchar, who’s expected to suit up for the hosts, having the Olympics in Russia is an opportunity to realize a boyhood dream.
“When I was growing up, there was no NHL for us, so we didn’t dream about playing in the NHL, we dreamed about playing in the Olympic games,” Gonchar told The Dallas Morning News recently. “So now to have those games in Russia and be able to compete, it’s very special. It’s huge for me, and for the whole country. They have put a lot of effort in, and they want it to be high class.”
Gonchar has won two Olympic medals playing for Russia — silver in 1998 and bronze in 2002.
If he does make the team, he’ll be part of a defense corps that many see as the country’s biggest weakness. The other 11 blue-liners who were invited to August’s orientation camp in Sochi were Evgeny Biryukov, Slava Voynov, Anton Volchenkov, Denis Denisov, Alexei Emelin, Andrei Markov, Evgeny Medvedev, Nikita Nikitin, Ilya Nikulin, Eugene Ryasensky, and Fedor Tyutin.