According to Damien Cox of the Toronto Star, Buffalo Sabres' head coach Ted Nolan of Sault. Ste. Marie, Ontario is a major reason why Latvia is in the quarterfinals of the men's hockey tournament at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi on Wednesday.
Nolan orchestrated his magic on Tuesday. He put together a tremendous system that helped Latvia beat Switzerland 3-1 in the elimination round. Latvia only has 1200 registered hockey players but somehow the nation finds itself in the final eight of the most prestigious hockey tournament in the world. Switzerland is no push over. They advanced to the final of the 2013 World Hockey Championship and a Tuesday hockey loss moves their program 100 steps back.
Now the task for the tiny Latvian hockey nation will be massive. The odds of them winning Olympic hockey gold are 500-1, and even those odds are generous.
The game can be seen in Canada at 10:00 a.m. on CBC. The other Olympic quarterfinal games are Slovenia vs. Sweden ( TSN, 1:00 a.m.), Finland vs. Russia (CBC, 5:30 a.m.) and the United States vs. Czech Republic (TSN2, 10:00 a.m.).
Nolan will try to continue the trend at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi of Canadian coaches having great success with other nations, following figure skater Brian Orser (Japan), curler Marcel Rocque (China) and bobsledder Pierre Lueders (Russia).