Kings center Anze Kopitar’s agreement to play for the second-tier Swedish team Mora Ishockeyclubb for the duration of the NHL lockout was finalized on Tuesday and he could play for the team as soon as this weekend, according to his agent, Pat Brisson.
Kopitar was eager to join his younger brother Gasper with Mora, which is a member of the Hockey Allsvenskan league. Kopitar will be able to return to the Kings at the end of the NHL lockout. The Elitserien, the top Swedish league, has said it won’t allow NHL players to play there on short-term contracts, a ruling that might be challenged.
Kopitar’s new team is located in the town of Mora, about 215 miles northwest of Stockholm. Kopitar, a native of Slovenia, played two seasons for the Swedish team Sodertalje before joining the Kings and still has fans there. In addition, he speaks some Swedish — and now he will have a chance to practice it again.
In other lockout-related developments, the NHL Players’ Assn. moved to pay the costs to restore insurance coverage for players and their families following the league’s decision to terminate that coverage after the lockout began last weekend. That includes medical and dental coverage for players and their families as well as disability insurance. However, players must still secure insurance for their NHL contracts if they play overseas during the lockout.