Mark Streit named to Switzerland's Olympic team

Mark Streit named to Switzerland's Olympic team
January 6, 2014, 2:15 pm
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Sochi will be Mark Streit's fourth Olympic Games. (USA Today Images)

Mark Streit added another accolade to his rather impressive international playing career on Monday when the Flyers' defenseman was named to Switzerland’s Olympic roster.

Streit will be headed to the Sochi Games in February. It will be his fourth Olympics.

His first was the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. He also played in 2006 at the Torino games in Italy, and 2010 in Vancouver.

Streit also has represented the Swiss 12 times in the World Championships.

“It’s an honor to represent Switzerland,” said the 36-year-old. “It’s a great tournament, a great experience. I’ve played in a lot of World Championships and now this will be my fourth Olympic Games. I’m really excited. It’s a big challenge, and the competition is going to be really high. I’m looking forward to it.”

Flyers forward Michael Raffl was named to Austria’s squad last week while Claude Giroux is eagerly awaiting Tuesday’s announcement of Team Canada’s Sochi roster.

Streit said his first Olympics -- Salt Lake City -- was special.

“I got to attend the opening ceremonies, and that was a special moment in my career,” Streit said. “I’m honored and blessed. It’s going to be pretty special.”

What makes the Sochi Games interesting from the Swiss perspective is the fact the country has made substantial gains in international ice hockey in recent years.

The Swiss were undefeated heading into last spring’s IIHF World Championship gold medal game, which they eventually lost to Sweden.

“Swiss hockey has come a long way the past, 10, 12, 15 years,” Streit said. “It’s great to see more and more players playing in the NHL. It’s great for Swiss hockey and the national team. It’s good to compete and face of a lot of good teams there.

“We did excellent at the last World Championships. It will be a different competition, but I think we can play with a lot of confidence. We have some skill and some speed. We want to win some games.”

Will there be a carryover from last year’s World Champs?

“Absolutely,” Streit said. “When you get the confidence to feel like you can play with the big boys, you go in feeling like you compete to win. We are still underdogs, no question about it. But it's been a big thing for Swiss hockey to get some results.

“We have players coming over here to the NHL and junior hockey and having success. We have had some success in the tournaments.

“Good goaltending has been something we've been getting for awhile, and that is a big thing, too. So, yes, I do think we can take what we've been doing and keep building on that.”

Among fellow Swiss NHLers going to Sochi are goalie Jonas Hiller, Yannick Weber, Damien Brunner and Nino Niederreiter.

Streit has three goals and eight points in 15 games played at the Olympic level.

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