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Some of the '26 hockey heroes' who took on the world

Lutsk, Ukraine

Peter Bondra
photo: TASR

Name: Peter Bondra

Born: February 7, 1968, Lutsk, Ukraine
Position: Right wing

Career achievements:
Lynchpin of the Washington Capitals' offence since 1990;
421 goals and 313 assists in 831 NHL matches over 12 seasons; named 'hockey's best-kept secret' by Sports Illustrated in June 1998; top goal scorer (7) in the 2002 tournament; scored medal-winning goal against Russia.

Currently: Lives in Washington DC with wife Ľuba and three children.

Notes: After growing up near east Slovakia's Poprad, Bondra became a Slovak citizen in 1993. His national teammates call him 'Bonzai' and 'fast train on ice'. Bondra says his boyhood idol was Peter Šťastný.

Miroslav Šatan
photo: TASR

Name: Miroslav Šatan

Born: October 22, 1974, Topoľčany, Slovakia
Position: Right wing, captain

Career achievements:
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1993; was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in 1997; led Sabres in goals (37), assists (36), points (73), power play goals (15), short handed goals (5) and gamewinning goals (5) for 2001-2002 season; led 2002 tournament in points with 5 goals and 8 assists; won tournament MVP award.

Currently: Married with four children, Šatan lives in Buffalo, New York, where he was the Sabres' best-paid player after the 2001-02 season.

Notes: "Since I was a little kid, I always dreamed of being a world champion. Sometimes your dreams come true."

Ján Lašák
photo: TASR

Name: Ján Lašák

Born: April 10, 1979, Budča pri Zvolene, Slovakia
Position: Goalkeeper

Career achievements:
Goalkeeper for Zvolen youth team from 1996 to 1999; signed by Nashville Predators in 1999; first Slovak goalkeeper to move from NHL farm to top league position; 17 national team starts. Gold medal (2002), silver medal (2000) and junior league bronze medal (1999).

Currently: Lives in Nashville with wife Andrea and one child.

Notes: Known as the showman of the Slovak team, Lašák was drafted to the NHL for his fast reflexes and flexibility. He currently plays for the Predators farm team in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Žigmund Pálffy
photo: TASR

Name: Žigmund Pálffy

Born: May 5, 1972, Skalica, Slovakia
Position: Right wing

Career achievements:
Won bronze with Czechoslovak juniors in 1991; played with Šatan and Pavol Demitra at Dukla Trenčín before being drafted in the second round by the New York Islanders in 1991; traded to Los Angeles Kings in 1999; led Islanders in goals, points, power play goals, game-winning goals, and shots in 1995-96, his first full year with the team; has 42 national team starts between 1993 and 2002.

Currently: Pálffy is single and lives in Los Angeles.

Notes: Known to fellow players as 'Žigo' and 'Zig-Zag', he spent part of the last offseason travelling in England and Africa.

Ján Filc
photo: TASR

Name: Ján Filc

Born: February 19, 1953, Bratislava, Slovakia
Position: Coach (former)

Career achievements:
As a player, Filc skated for the Czechoslovak junior side and later for the country's Slovan and Nitra professional teams. As a coach, Filc led the Slovak under 20s to bronze in 1999, the men's team to silver in 2000 and coached the 2002 men's Olympic and world championship teams.

Currently: Filc lives in Slovakia with his wife Anna and two children

Notes: After Slovakia's gold-medal win, Filc announced his retirement from coaching and accepted an executive position at the Slovak Ice Hockey Association with responsibility for the national side.

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