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Anze Kopitar
Akopitar.jpg
Born 24 August 1987 (1987-08-24) (age 29)
Jesenice, Slovenia, Yugoslavia
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight 225 lb (102 kg; 16 st 1 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
Los Angeles Kings
Mora IK (Swe-2)
Södertälje Sportklubb (SEL)
HK Kranjska Gora (SLO)
National team Template:Country data Slovenia
NHL Draft 11th overall, 2005
Los Angeles Kings
Playing career 2004–present

Anže Kopitar (born on August 24, 1987) is a Slovenian professional ice hockey center and alternate captain of the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL).

The 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Anze became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL in 2006. He has spent his entire career with the Kings and has led the team in scoring for five consecutive seasons.

Anze played junior hockey for his hometown team HK Acroni Jesenice before moving to Sweden when he was sixteen years old to play in a more competitive league. He spent one season with the junior teams of the Södertälje SK organization, and then with the senior team of the top-level Elitserien.

In 2006, Anze moved to North America to join the Kings, a year after he was drafted, and he finished fourth in the Calder Trophy voting his rookie year. Anze's dynamic offensive talent allowed him to immediately become Los Angeles' best offensive weapon, but in recent seasons, he has improved his defensive game and emerged as one of the NHL's premier two-way forwards.

Anze helped win the first Stanley Cup championship in Kings history in 2012. Internationally, he has represented the Slovenian national team in several junior and senior tournaments.

Playing CareerEdit

European Hockey CareerEdit

In 2002, Anze began playing for the youth team of his hometown, HK Acroni Jesenice. He split the year between the team's under-18 and junior club's, and also appeared in 11 games for the senior team HK Kranjska Gora of the Slovenian Ice Hockey League.

He had 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points in the senior league, and recorded 76 points in 14 games for the Jesenice under-18 team and 27 points in 20 games for the junior club. Anze led the Slovenian Ice Hockey League in scoring at sixteen years old and Swedish scout Lars Soder recruited him for the Elitserien in 2004 (Soder had originally discovered Anze when he was thirteen years old at a European Youth Olympic Festival).

The Slovenian Ice Hockey League did not have a high enough skill level, so Anze decided that if he wanted to improve his career prospects he would have to leave the country. He was offered a chance to play in Sweden for Södertälje SK. Anze played for their junior team and led the league in scoring with 49 points (28 goals, 21 assists) in 30 games.

Prior to the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Anze was ranked the top European skater by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. After his first season in Sweden, he was chosen 11th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Unlike most top-ranked prospects, Anze was not at the draft, but in Sweden playing in preseason games. Some members of the team had a party for the draft, including Niclas Bergfors who was selected 23rd overall by the New Jersey Devils.

Prior to the NHL Draft, Anze was also selected in the CHL Import Draft by the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. He declined to move to North America, hoping to further his development by continuing to play against professionals in the Elitserien, rather than the juniors in the WHL.

Los Angeles KingsEdit

On September 7, 2005, Anze signed an entry-level contract with the Kings, but he went back and played in Sweden for another season. In 2006, he accepted an invitation to the Los Angeles Kings' rookie camp. On October 6, 2006, Anze made his NHL debut against the Anaheim Ducks and scored two goals in the game.

In January of 2007, Anze was named to the NHL YoungStars Game (an event of the NHL All-Star Game). He recorded two goals and three assists. Anze completed his first NHL season third among rookies in scoring behind Evgeni Malkin and Paul Stastny with 20 goals and 41 assists for 61 points.

It marked the fifth highest point total by a Kings rookie and the highest since Luc Robitaille in 1986–87. He finished fourth in voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. was awarded the Mark Bavis Memorial Award as the best first-year member of the Kings and named the King's Most Popular Player.

The following season, Anze was selected to represent the Western Conference at the 56th NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta, his first appearance in the game. He was the youngest player in the game, nearly two years younger than Paul Stastny.

Anze finished the season with 32 goals and 45 assists for 77 points. Kopitar led the Kings in assists and points and was second in goals. He was named the winner of the Bill Libby Memorial Award as the most valuable player on the Kings; he also received an award for leading the team in scoring.

On October 11, 2008 (early in the 2008-09 season), Anze signed a seven-year extension with the Kings worth $47.6 million. The contract would keep him with the team until the conclusion of the 2015–16 season. Anze finished the season with 66 points in 82 games, leading the Kings in both assists and points, while second in goals.

On October 22, 2009, Anze scored his first career hat trick against the Dallas Stars.He finished the 2009–10 season with a career-high 34 goals and 81 points. For the second time in his career Kopitar won the Bill Libby Memorial Award as the Kings most valuable player, and led the team in scoring for the third straight year.

Anze also made his NHL playoff debut in 2010 as the Kings qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The Kings lost in the first round to the Vancouver Canucks and he finished tied for third on the team with five points in six games.

On March 15, 2011, Anze played his 325th consecutive NHL game and set a new record for the Kings, passing Marcel Dionne. Eleven days later, however, Anze's season and ironman streak came to an abrupt end at 330 games with a broken ankle. Even so, he led the team in scoring for the fourth straight season, amassing a 73-point campaign prior to his injury.

In the 2011–12 season, Anze led the Kings in scoring with 76 points, including a career-best 51 assists. He won the Stanley Cup with the Kings, the first time the team won the Cup. Anze tied with Dustin Brown to lead the team in playoff scoring, with each having twenty points in twenty games. Anze was the first Slovenian-born player to win the Stanley Cup.

Due to the 2012–13 NHL lockout, Anze joined his younger brother Gašper on Mora IK of the Swedish second-tier league HockeyAllsvenskan, signing a contract with the team for the 2012–13 season. He played 31 games for Mora, scoring 34 points, before the NHL lockout ended in January of 2013.

A shortened, 48-game NHL season commenced, Anze recorded 42 points in 47 games to once again lead the Kings in scoring, and was named the team's best defensive player.

The 2013–14 season saw Anze lead the team in scoring for the seventh consecutive season, with 70 points, and was named both the team's most valuable player and best defensive player. He also was a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as best defensive forward in the NHL for the first time.

In the playoffs, he led the entire league in scoring, recording 26 points in 26 games, as the Kings won their second Stanley Cup championship.

The following season, Anze tied Marcel Dionne as the only player in Kings history to lead the team in scoring eight times, having scored 16 goals and 48 assists for 64 points. He was a finalist for the Selke and Lady Byng Memorial trophies.

During the 2015–16 season, Anze signed an eight-year contract extension with the Kings. It would pay him an average of $10 million per season until the end of the 2023–24 season.

He completed the season with 74 points, setting a team record by leading the Kings in scoring for a ninth consecutive season. He was named a finalist for both the Selke and Lady Byng Trophies again (which he would later win at the 2016 NHL Awards).

On June 16, 2016, Anze was named the new captain of the Los Angeles Kings, replacing teammate Dustin Brown.

International PlayEdit

Medal record
Competitor for Template:SLO
Ice hockey
IIHF World U18 Championship
Bronze 2003 Latvia Division I Group A
Silver 2005 Slovenia Division I Group A
World Junior Ice Hockey Championships
Bronze 2006 Slovenia Division I Group A
Silver 2005 Estonia Division I Group B
Ice Hockey World Championships
Gold 2007 Slovenia Division I Group B

Anze first played in an international tournament when he participated in the Division I (second level) tournament of the 2003 IIHF World U18 Championships for the Slovenian national junior team. He appeared in five games and recorded three points.

The following year, Anze appeared in the 2004 tournament and the 2004 World Junior Championships. Slovenia appeared in the Division I level at both tournaments. He scored 6 goals and 8 points in 5 games during the under-18 tournament and finished second overall for goals scored and third for points, leading Slovenia in both categories. Anze had one goal and one assist in five games at the World Juniors.

In 2005, Anze appeared in three international tournaments for Slovenia; he took part in the World Juniors, U18 Championship and the World Championship. Both junior tournaments were at the Division I level while the senior championship was at the top level.

At the 2006 World Championship, Anze played for Slovenia at the top level and recorded 3 goals and 9 points in 6 games and was tied 5th among scoring leaders.

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2002–03 HK Acroni Jesenice U18 Slov-U18 14 38 38 76 10
2002–03 HK Acroni Jesenice Jr Slov-Jr 20 15 12 27 8
2002–03 HK Kranjska Gora Slov 11 4 4 8 4
2003–04 HK Acroni Jesenice Jr. Slov-Jr 25 32 28 60 16
2003–04 HK Kranjska Gora Slov 21 14 11 25 10 4 1 1 2 0
2004–05 Södertälje SK U18 Swe-U18 1 1 2 3 0 1 0 0 0 2
2004–05 Södertälje SK J20 30 28 21 49 26 2 1 1 2 0
2004–05 Södertälje SK SEL 5 0 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 0
2005–06 Södertälje SK SEL 47 8 12 20 28
2006–07 Los Angeles Kings NHL 72 20 41 61 24
2007–08 Los Angeles Kings NHL 82 32 45 77 22
2008–09 Los Angeles Kings NHL 82 27 39 66 32
2009–10 Los Angeles Kings NHL 82 34 47 81 16 6 2 3 5 2
2010–11 Los Angeles Kings NHL 75 25 48 73 20
2011–12 Los Angeles Kings NHL 82 25 51 76 20 20 8 12 20 9
2012–13 Mora IK Swe.1 31 10 24 34 14
2012–13 Los Angeles Kings NHL 47 10 32 42 16 18 3 6 9 12
2013–14 Los Angeles Kings NHL 82 29 41 70 24 26 5 21 26 14
2014–15 Los Angeles Kings NHL 79 16 48 64 10
2015–16 Los Angeles Kings NHL 81 25 49 74 16 5 2 2 4 2
NHL totals 764 243 441 684 200 75 20 44 64 39

InternationalEdit

Year Team Comp   GP G A Pts PIM
2003 Slovenia U18 (Div I) 5 2 1 3 0
2004 Slovenia WJC (Div I) 5 1 1 2 0
2004 Slovenia U18 (Div I) 5 6 2 8 0
2005 Slovenia WJC (Div I) 5 10 3 13 6
2005 Slovenia U18 (Div I) 5 6 5 11 14
2005 Slovenia OGQ 3 1 1 2 2
2005 Slovenia WC 6 1 0 1 2
2006 Slovenia WJC (Div I) 5 5 1 6 4
2006 Slovenia WC 6 3 6 9 2
2007 Slovenia WC (Div I) 5 1 13 14 2
2008 Slovenia WC 5 3 1 4 2
2014 Slovenia OG 5 2 1 3 4
2015 Slovenia WC 7 1 3 4 0
Junior totals 30 30 13 43 24
Senior totals 37 12 25 37 14

All-Star GamesEdit

Year Location   G A Pts
2008 Atlanta 0 0 0
2011 Carolina 2 0 2
2015 Columbus 0 0 0
All-Star Game totals 2 0 2

Awards & AchievementsEdit

NHL AwardsEdit

Award Year(s)
Stanley Cup champion 2012 and 2014
Frank J. Selke Trophy 2016
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy 2016

Los Angeles Kings Team AwardsEdit

Award Year
Bill Libby Memorial Award 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2016
Leading Scorer Award 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Mark Bavis Memorial Award 2007
Most Popular Player 2007, 2011
Best Defensive Player 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015

Personal LifeEdit

Anze was born in Jesenice, Slovenia (which was then a part of Yugoslavia) to Matjaž and Mateja Kopitar. Matjaž played hockey for HK Acroni Jesenice in the Yugoslav and later Slovenian championship in the 1980s and 1990s and competed in three World Championships (in the B and C pools; lower levels) for both Yugoslavia and Slovenia in the early 1990s.

Anze also coached HK Acroni Jesenice of the Austrian Hockey League in the 2006–07 season and has been the head coach of the Slovenia national ice hockey team since 2010. Mateja worked at the family restaurant, Gostišče Kopitar, in Hrušica, a village about five kilometres from Jesenice.

When Anze was four years old, his father first taught him how to skate; Matjaž built an ice rink in their backyard in Hrušica, and Kopitar would go out there whenever he could. Anze has a brother, Gašper, who is five years younger. Gašper also plays hockey.

When the family moved to Los Angeles, Anze joined a junior team sponsored by the Kings. He then played for the Portland Winterhawks of the major junior Western Hockey League and the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League, before turning professional with Mora IK in Sweden.

Anze's grandmother taught English at a local high school. Both Anze and his brother learned how to speak English from her. Anze speaks five languages: Slovene, Serbian, German, Swedish and English. He enjoys playing association football and is a declared supporter of Slovenian football club Maribor.

Until he moved to Sweden, Anze lived with his parents. While in Sweden he lived alone in an apartment. After his first season in the NHL, the rest of his family joined him in Los Angeles. They first lived in a house in Hermosa Beach, then moved to Manhattan Beach.

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