GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – A total of 11 current or former Grand Rapids Griffins will represent seven different countries in the upcoming Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.
All 11 say playing for their country on the world’s biggest hockey stage is an honor. But none of them will feel quite the same as Tomas Tatar, for whom the games are a chance to represent both his country and his father.
Tatar, who will play for Team Slovakia, is last season’s Griffins and Calder Cup playoff MVP. And he has shined in his rookie season with the Detroit Red Wings. He leads Wings rookies with 10 goals and has put up 19 points in 39 games.
He said he’s thrilled to represent his country. But he will also represent his father Jan, who died nearly two weeks ago in Slovakia.
Tatar got word of his father’s death when the Wings were on a trip to the West Coast. He decided to play the next night in Los Angeles anyway before leaving for the funeral in Slovakia.
He scored the game-winning goal that night and offered a salute to his father immediately after.
Tatar said he will be thinking of his father in Sochi.
The 2014 Winter Olympics begin Feb. 6.
Tatar to play for Slovakia, dad in Sochi