Last year Croatia's senior national hockey team stepped up its game and won silver in Division I Group B of the World Championship, and this year their challenge is to outdo that achievement. That shouldn't be hard because Don MacLean, who's been directing the national team for the past two years, has even more high-quality players to choose from come April when preparations begin for the WC Division I Group B, which will be held from April 13-19 in Eindhoven, Holland. Vying for a ice time with the 'checkers' will be Medvescak's forward Nathan Perkovich, who is playing the season of a lifetime in the blue jersey this season.
''That's some of the best news I've gotten this season. My great-grandfather would be very proud that I came back home and that I'm playing for Croatia. It's one thing to play for the club, but another to play for the national team. I don't think there's a bigger honour than representing your country at such a big competition as the World Championship regardless of what division you're in. I'm happy about the invitation and I hope that I will be able to help the national team place as well as possible.''
Perkovich always secretly hoped he would have the opportunity to play for the national team. He never gave up on that dream, even at times when it seemed impossible. And now, at twenty-nine years of age, it's coming true...
''Deep down I've always hoped to one day play at the World Championship, as well as the Olympics or the Winter Olympic Games qualifier. I hope that one day that goal becomes a reality too. I know that Croatia is still far from that, but you never know. Considering that the national team is getting stronger each year, I don't think that's an impossible mission and I think that one day we will get to watch Croatia's hockey team at the Olympics. This is just the beginning, the first step. This is going to be a fun journey. I can't wait!''
Of course, none of this would be possible had he not joined Medvescak in the '12-13 season.
''Coming to Zagreb, to Medvescak, opened up a lot of doors for me. After EBEL I had the opportunity to stay with the club and play in the KHL, perform at the prestigious Spengler Cup, and now there's the national team too.''
Croatia's opponents at the World Championship will be Estonia, the U.K., Korea, Lithuania, and home team Holland.