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NHL lockout update: Kings' Anze Kopitar close to deal in Sweden

September 17, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • Kings center Anze Kopitar carries the Stanley Cup past a crowd of fans as he leaves the stage following a rally in his hometown of Hrusica, Slovenia.
Kings center Anze Kopitar carries the Stanley Cup past a crowd of fans as… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

The first name from the Kings on the verge of an agreement with a European hockey team during the NHL lockout is a big one.

It's Anze Kopitar.

The Kings' star center will be playing for Mora IK of the Swedish league, said his agent, Pat Brisson of  Creative Artists Agency, on Monday afternoon.  What made Mora so attractive to Kopitar was that his younger brother Gasper is playing for the team.

Mora is competing in the second-highest division in Sweden.

Kopitar, who in June helped lead the Kings to their first Stanley Cup championship, was in demand, having received interest from the Swiss National League. The agreement to play in Sweden came together, officially, two days after the NHL locked out its players.

Additionally, he can sign with Mora just for the duration of the lockout because it plays in a second-tier league, The Times' Helene Elliott reported. The other attractive aspect about Sweden is that Kopitar has played there previously. He left his native Slovenia for Sweden at age 16 to develop his game and enhance his NHL prospects.

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