Ozoli with Dinamo Riga in 2013
August 3, 1972|
Sigulda, Latvian SSR, USSR
|Height||6 ft 3 in (191 cm)|
|Weight||214 lb (97 kg; 15 st 4 lb)|
San Jose Sharks
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
New York Rangers
Atlant Moscow Oblast
Unified Team and
30th overall, 1991|
San Jose Sharks
Sandis Ozoli (born August 3, 1972), commonly spelled Sandis Ozolinsh in North America, is a Latvian former professional ice hockey player and coach. During his career in North America, Ozoli was a seven-time NHL All-Star, Stanley Cup champion (as a member of the 1995-1996 Colorado Avalanche), and Norris Trophy finalist. He is also the all-time leader for goals, assists, points and games played by a Latvian in the NHL and holds several Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks franchise records. Ozoli also was the highest paid sportsman in Latvian history, before NBA basketball player Andris Biedri succeeded him in 2008. He became the head coach of Dinamo in 2017.
Ozoli was drafted in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks as the 8th pick of the 2nd round, 30th overall. He played for the Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and New York Rangers. He is often considered a prototype "offensive defenseman," becoming heavily involved in his team's offense and scoring opportunities.
Ozoli was drafted 30th overall by the San Jose Sharks in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft and had played for the Kansas City Blades, a minor league team in the International Hockey League. He and Latvian teammate Art?rs Irbe won a Turner Cup with the Blades in 1992.
Ozoli joined the Sharks in 1992-93, scoring 23 points in 37 games. He missed the majority of his rookie season recovering from a knee injury suffered in a game against Philadelphia on December 30, 1992. After recovering from his injury, Ozoli ended the 1993-94 season with an 81-game, 26-goal/64-point sophomore effort, leading the league in goals by a defenceman. Ozoli helped the Sharks to move beyond the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, losing in the conference semifinals.
At the start of the 1995-96 season, San Jose traded Ozoli for Nordiques/Avalanche forward Owen Nolan. In 66 games during his first season, Ozoli scored 50 total points, with more than half on the power play. Ozoli won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1996. The following season Colorado won the Presidents' Trophy. After losing to the Detroit Red Wings in the 1997 conference finals, Ozoli finished third in votes for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the league's most outstanding defenceman. In the regular season, he scored a career-high 68 points, second in the league for defencemen after Brian Leetch. Ozoli scored his first career hat trick on December 6, 1999 against the Vancouver Canucks. 1999 was his final year in Denver, in which Ozoli made $4 million as Colorado's third-highest paid player.
During the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Ozoli was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for Nolan Pratt and draft picks that became Václav Nedorost, Jared Aulin, and Agris Saviels. The agreement reunited Ozoli with fellow Latvian Art?rs Irbe. They had played together in Latvia and San Jose, shared an agent and together fund a youth hockey organization that buys equipment for children in Latvia. After expiration of Ozoli' Avalanche deal, he signed a five-year contract with Carolina worth more than $25 million. "When you have a player like Sandis, you're willing to spend the money," general manager Jim Rutherford said. Ozoli didn't help the Hurricanes to advance in the playoffs, playing just one and a half seasons with Carolina before being traded to the Florida Panthers.
Ozoli became a Panther after being acquired in 2001-02 mid-season from Carolina along with Byron Ritchie in exchange for Bret Hedican, Kevyn Adams, Tomá? Malec and a draft pick. Ozoli made his Panthers debut against Chicago on January 16, 2002. He wore #44 because #8 was already worn by Peter Worrell. Ozoli scored 10 goals and 19 assists in the remaining 37 games of the season. The Panthers did not make the playoffs during his time in Florida.
During the 2002-03 season, the Panthers sent Ozoli to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for Matt Cullen, Pavel Trnka, and a draft pick. During the 2003 NHL All-Star weekend (several days after he had been traded), Ozoli skipped the NHL All-Star skills competition where he would have had to wear a Panthers uniform. "Participating in the All-Star Game is one thing, but the skills competition is another," said Ozoli, who was voted as an Eastern Conference starter. "It would look really unusual for a player to be representing his old team, so I thought this was the right thing to do." He was fined an undisclosed amount by the league. Upon his arrival with the Ducks, Ozoli helped the club reach their first Stanley Cup Final, losing a seven-game series to the New Jersey Devils. In 2003-04, Ozoli battled injuries and was limited to 36 games.
Following the lockout in 2004-05, Ozoli was dealt to the New York Rangers at the trading deadline for a third-round draft pick (which the Rangers had obtained earlier in a trade with the San Jose Sharks). With 14 points in 19 games in the 2005-06 season, Ozoli helped his team to advance to the playoffs, for which the Rangers had not qualified since 1997. In the next season on December 18, 2006, on the heels of a 6-1 loss to New Jersey, the Rangers placed Ozoli on waivers. After clearing waivers, Ozoli was assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL), but a short while later was put on the injured reserve list due to a knee injury.
Ozoli' later entered into the league's substance abuse program following a drunk driving arrest. After playing 2 games for the Worcester Sharks of the AHL and being cleared to play by doctors within the league's substance abuse program, he signed a one-year contract with San Jose on November 2, 2007. "That was a big turnaround this summer and I'm finally comfortable with what I am and what has happened, I actually feel pretty good and I do what I have to do and I do what I was advised to do. And I do it for myself and not for anybody else," said Ozoli. In the 2007-08 NHL season he scored 3 goals and 13 assists in 39 games for the Sharks. He had a notable highlight reel save against the Anaheim Ducks, where as the puck slipped by goalie Evgeni Nabokov, and Ozoli slipped and fell as he made a stick save on the goal line.
On July 13, 2009, Ozoli unexpectedly signed a one-year deal with KHL home country team Dinamo Riga, with whom he started his senior career in 1990. Ozoli got back his #8 - the same number which he wore while playing for Dinamo Riga. Ozoli was named a captain for the first time in his career. In the 2009-10 KHL season he was the team's leader in points among defensemen, scoring 5 goals and 20 assists in 43 games. In January 2010, Ozoli was selected to play on the starting roster for the Jaromír Jágr team in the KHL All-Star game. He was also selected to play in the KHL All-Star skills competition, but, due to a minor injury, only played in the first period and withdrew from the skills competition. On May 18, 2010, Ozoli extended his contract with Dinamo for another year, after he declined larger offers from four different KHL teams.
In the first month of the 2010-11 KHL season Ozoli was honoured as the league's best defenseman after he registered 1 goal and 11 assists in 11 games, at the time being the league's leader in assists. He was injured in the November 28 game against HC Sibir and missed all of the December due to broken ribs. In January 2011, Ozoli was again selected to play on the starting roster in the KHL All-Star game. Before the start of a 2011-12 KHL season Ozoli received an offer from KHL Gagarin Cup 2011 winners Salavat Yulaev Ufa to join the team, but he declined it. During the 2011-12 KHL season, league officials confirmed Ozoli as captain of the Western Conference team in the All-Star Game 2012 (which took place on January 21, 2012) versus the Eastern Conference team captained by Sergei Fedorov. On July 12, 2012, Dinamo Riga board member Guntis Ulmanis told Latvian radio station Baltkom that Ozoli left KHL team Dynamo Riga as a free agent and could receive lucrative offers from Russian clubs. Since joining Riga, Ozoli had 22 goals and 65 assists in 158 regular season KHL appearances, serving as the team captain for every game. During his time with Dinamo Riga, Ozoli set several franchise records as a defenseman.
On September 24, 2012, Ozoli signed a one-year deal with KHL team Atlant Moscow Oblast. In his only season with Atlant in 2012-13, Ozoli was named team captain and immediately served as a fixture on the blueline, producing 2 goals and 20 points in 42 games.
In the off-season, Ozoli made another return as a free agent to Dinamo Riga, signing a one-year contract on May 8, 2013.
On May 27, 2014, during an interview on national television he announced his retirement from professional hockey and plans to move into politics. However, he returned to Dinamo Riga as an assistant coach on October 31, 2016. He was promoted to head coach of the team on May 29, 2017.
|Representing Commonwealth of Independent States|
|World Junior Championship|
|Representing Soviet Union|
|World Junior Championship|
Ozoli, who was born in Latvia, played hockey internationally for the Soviet Union until 1991. His first major international tournament was 1991 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, where he won a silver medal, losing in the gold medal game to Canada. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, he played under the new flag of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and won a gold medal at the 1992 World Junior Championships. During the tournament, the USSR was formally dissolved and the team was renamed as the Commonwealth of Independent States national junior team. Because Ozoli and Sergei Zholtok were from Latvia, which wasn't a member of the CIS, some other teams protested, but the protest was denied.
Ozoli didn't play again internationally until 1998 due to injuries and the NHL playoff schedule. In 1998, after losing with the Avalanche to the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs, Ozoli was able to rush to Switzerland and made his debut for Latvia in the elite division, where team Latvia had qualified for the second time since its independence in 1991. At that tournament he registered 1 goal and 2 assists. He again helped for his nation at the Men's World Ice Hockey Championship; he was able to participate because of the Hurricanes loss in the Conference quarterfinals. Latvia finished the tournament in 13th place. He played in next year's championship as well and one game during the 2002 Winter Olympics Ice hockey tournament. In the game versus Slovakia, Ozoli registered 4 assists, helping Latvia to a 6-6 tie.
After a three-year absence, Ozoli helped Latvia qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics Ice hockey tournament. It was intended to be his last international tournament; he announced his international retirement to the media following the conclusion of the Olympics. In spite of his announced retirement he rejoined team Latvia in their bid to qualify for the 2014 Olympics. The Latvian team, including Ozoli, did indeed qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, where they upset the Swiss to earn a berth in the quarterfinals, then lost to Canada to finish 8th.
Ozoli was married to his secondary school schoolmate Sandra for more than 15 years, until May 2010 Ozoli submitted an application for divorce. He has two sons - Roberts(born in 1994) and Christopher(born in 1996). During the off-season Ozoli resides in Denver, Colorado, and most recently in J?rmala, Latvia. Ozoli was the owner of Vilki OP/LaRocca of the Riga Open Championship until it became defunct in 2006. Ozoli also owns other Latvian sports ventures, including Latvia's first 18-hole golf course, Ozo Golf Club. In December 2009, Ozoli was voted as 2009's most popular sportsman in Latvia by internet voters.
|1991-92||Kansas City Blades||IHL||34||6||9||15||20||15||2||5||7||22|
|1992-93||San Jose Sharks||NHL||37||7||16||23||40||--||--||--||--||--|
|1993-94||San Jose Sharks||NHL||81||26||38||64||24||14||0||10||10||8|
|1994-95||San Jose Sharks||NHL||48||9||16||25||30||11||3||2||5||6|
|1995-96||San Francisco Spiders||IHL||2||1||0||1||0||--||--||--||--||--|
|1995-96||San Jose Sharks||NHL||7||1||3||4||4||--||--||--||--||--|
|2002-03||Mighty Ducks of Anaheim||NHL||31||5||13||18||16||21||2||6||8||10|
|2003-04||Mighty Ducks of Anaheim||NHL||36||5||11||16||24||--||--||--||--||--|
|2005-06||Mighty Ducks of Anaheim||NHL||17||3||3||6||8||--||--||--||--||--|
|2005-06||New York Rangers||NHL||14||2||10||12||12||3||0||0||0||6|
|2006-07||New York Rangers||NHL||21||0||3||3||8||--||--||--||--||--|
|2007-08||San Jose Sharks||NHL||39||3||13||16||24||--||--||--||--||--|
|2012-13||Atlant Moscow Oblast||KHL||42||2||18||20||26||5||0||1||1||2|
|Tier I Senior totals||27||4||15||19||26|
|Tier II Senior totals||6||0||1||1||6|