Sandis Ozolinsh, a member of the Colorado Avalanche 1996 Stanley Cup team and one of their most popular players from that era, has joined the team as a scout. Ozolinsh, in fact, did some scouting at the recent Global Series games in Finland between the Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Ozolinsh becomes the third former Avalanche defenseman from the 1995-96 championship team to be on the scouting staff. Curtis Leschyshyn and Alexei Gusarov are the others.
“Ozo” was a premier offensive defenseman for the Avalanche, almost like a fourth forward on the ice. He had 13 goals and 50 points in 66 regular-season games for the Avalanche in 1995-96 after coming over from the San Jose Sharks in a trade for Owen Nolan. He had 23 goals and 68 points the following season, a point total that stood as the highest in Avalanche team history as a defenseman until Cale Makar broke it last year.
The news was first reported by Sports.tvnet.lv. “I am a Colorado scout. Otherwise, I enjoy life,” Ozolinsh told the Latvian media outlet.
Sandis Ozolinsh, 50, played until age 42 with the Riga Dynamo of the Kontinental Hockey League. It is believed he will be primarily a European scout with the Avalanche.
Ozolinsh also played for the Latvian Olympic team into his 40s.