Published On: Wed, Feb 14th, 2018

What you need to know about Slovenian hockey hero, former Red Wings draftee Jan Mursak

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What you need to know about Slovenian hockey hero, former Red Wings draftee Jan Mursak

Jan Mursak earned hero status in Slovenia on Wednesday, scoring both the late equalizer and overtime winner in his country’s 3-2 comeback victory over Team USA in the men’s hockey opener.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Slovenian captain:

Only Slovenian Olympian with NHL experience

Mursak was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the sixth round of the 2006 NHL Draft. He’s one of three Slovenians to ever play in the league. Detroit received a decent return on value, with Mursak ranking 63rd in games played (46 over three seasons) in his draft class.

Peter Forsberg is one of his heroes

It appears Mursak drew inspiration Wednesday from his idol, former Colorado Avalanche great Peter Forsberg.

Forsberg was a standout at Lillehammer in 1994, guiding Sweden to a gold medal while recording eight points during the tournament. Although it’s unlikely Mursak will steer Slovenia to the podium, he’s certainly off to a great start.

Babcock believed in him

Mursak’s stint with the Red Wings was unremarkable, but he earned a vote of confidence from Mike Babcock, who served as the team’s head coach prior to joining the Toronto Maple Leafs. After scoring 24 goals in the AHL during the 2009-10 season, the coach saw the potential for Mursak to become a key contributor in Detroit.

“He can really shoot the puck. He scores every day in practice,” Babcock said of Mursak in February 2012, according to Ansar Khan of “You don’t score in practice and not translate it to games eventually. We think he’s going to be an important player one day.”

Reportedly spends his summers in Michigan

It could be an awkward summer for Mursak.

According to Gregg Krupa of The Detroit News, he spends parts of his summers in Saginaw, Mich., where he played during his junior career for the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit.

Mursak will certainly have a compelling story for his neighbors if Slovenia advances further through the tournament than the U.S.

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