How does winning hockey’s most coveted team trophy and then being named your country’s athlete of the year sound as a way to remember 2012?Anze Kopitar still can’t quite believe his memorable 2012. Six months ago, Kopitar and his teammates were in the midst of celebrating Los Angeles’ first Stanley Cup championship. Then, in December of 2012, the native of Slovenia was feted as the country’s top male athlete of the year. The enormity of both accomplishments has yet to fully sink in for Kopitar. “This was pretty much a 100 per cent year for me, but I'm only 25 years old, so hopefully there are a few more years like this to come,” Kopitar told NHLPA.com just prior to the calendar flipping to 2013. “I’m proud of my journey to this point.” He has every reason to be. The 11th overall selection in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar was the first Slovenian to play in the NHL, making his debut in 2006. He has spent his entire career with the Kings. On the international stage, Kopitar has worn his country’s sweater on several occasions, including a 14-point performance in just five games at the 2007 World Championships (Division 1). He’s humbled by his native land naming him the athlete of the year. Kopitar, and Olympic gold medal-winning judoka Urška Žolnir, were honoured as the country's male and female athletes of the year on December 20. The centreman bested hammer thrower Primož Kozmus, a silver medalist at the London Olympics, in the voting, by a count of 261 to 182, to become the first-ever athlete in a team sport to win the award. “I was obviously very happy and honoured because for such a small country like Slovenia, we have a lot of great professional athletes, and to be voted as the best this year is super exciting,” offered Kopitar, who hails from the nation of just over 2-million inhabitants, a country that borders Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south and southeast and Hungary to the northeast. It’s exactly how he felt when he hoisted the Stanley Cup aloft. “I'm proud of the journey that we had this season with the Kings,” he said. “I certainly couldn't have done it without my teammates. We all know in hockey the ultimate goal is winning the Stanley Cup and being the first guy from Slovenia to win was a very proud moment for me.” Achieving both was hardly accomplished through an individual effort. “I received lots of help from the people that I love,” noted Kopitar. “My girlfriend, my brother, my parents, grandparents, and of course all of my closest friends. I'm happy to share these accomplishments with all of them. It's not the easiest way to come this far from such a small country. And like I said before, I couldn't have done it without my loved ones. ” He’s hopeful both encourage Slovenian youth to dream big. “My advice to the kids would be just to have fun at what they are doing because if you have fun at what you are doing, then there are not very many limits.” For one of Slovenia’s most famous citizens, it appears the sky is the limit.