Periodically, I will present a “Get to Know” feature on most of the Kings players. The forwards will come first, in alphabetical order.
Anze Kopitar was born on Aug. 25, 1987 in Jesenice, Slovenia. Jesenice can be found in northwestern Slovenia and has a population of around 20,000. His father is Matjaz, and his mother is Mateja. He has a younger brother named Gasper. His family lived in Hrusica, a small village outside of Jesenice. HIs father is a coach and his brother a player for the L.A. Junior Kings Midget AAA team.
He wrote My Story: Anze Kopitar for the Kings website as part of an ongoing feature of players “telling his story on how he became passionate about this game we all love.”
“As soon as I had the ability to stand up, I got a hockey stick and then I started skating,” writes Kopitar.
He left home at around 15 to play in Sweden.
“I went by myself, and I lived alone in an apartment. I had to take care of myself, do the dishes, the ironing, and the laundry,” he writes in My Story. “So it was pretty tough at first but then it made me mature a lot quicker than I would have in normal circumstances.”
He came out of the experience having learned something new.
“While I was there I picked up some Swedish. I can understand the language well. By the end of the first year I could pretty much understand everything the guys were saying, but I didn’t really have the courage to talk back in Swedish so I would answer in English….every person I met in Sweden spoke some English…That made the transition from Slovenia a lot easier.”
His nickname is “Kopi”. His first name is pronounced “on-jay.”
His girlfriend is named Ines.
For his first job he worked at Gostice Kopitar, his family’s restaurant in Hrusica.
He helps the environment by recycling.
If he did not play hockey, he would want to be an architect.
He is friends with NBA player and fellow Slovenian Sasha Vujacic.
He likes to spend his free time with his brother and friends, playing basketball, volleyball, tennis, or soccer. He also likes to read.
Some foods he likes are pancakes, Greek, Mexican, and sushi. Also, he eats pasta before every game.
Some of Kopitar’s favorite things are:
- Place to visit: Croatia
- Cuisine: Mateja’s cooking
- Actress: Jessica Alba
- Actor: Charlie Sheen
- TV shows: Two and a Half Men and CSI: Miami
- Movies: Pirates of the Caribbean and Happy Gilmore
- Non-hockey sports: Tennis, basketball, and golf
- Hockey player (when he was growing up): Sergei Fedorov
- Athlete: Roger Federer
- Road city: Chicago
- Road arena: Rexall Place
- Musical acts: Kocka and Siddartha
- Magazine: The Hockey News
- European arena: O2 (in London)
- NBA player: Kobe Bryant
- Quote: “Don’t be afraid to live your dreams.”
He is a fan of practically every sport. In addition to tennis, basketball, and golf, he also enjoys baseball, soccer, skiing, cycling, and swimming, among others.
He lists his idols as Fedorov, Federer, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and Zinedine Zidane. If he had to pick one above the rest, though, it would be Fedorov.
He does a great deal of work for charity, including raising money for the Jesenice General Hospital Children’s Wing. He also hosts youth camps in Kranjska Gora, found in the Julian Alps.
He is a member of WePlay.
He has his own website: anzeseleven.com.