It’s looking likelier and likelier that the 2018 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team, though lacking active NHL players, will include at least one player with Olympic experience.
Ryan Malone, a 37-year-old forward and 2010 Vancouver Winter Games silver medalist, signed a 25-game tryout deal with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League, which keeps him eligible for PyeongChang. Malone confirmed Friday that he is trying to make another Olympic team.
Also Thursday, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced that Brian Gionta, a 38-year-old forward who led the 2006 Olympic team in goals, will be the lone men’s hockey player among more than 50 Olympians and Olympic hopefuls at a 100-day countdown event in Times Square on Nov. 1.
Malone and Gionta have more than 1,500 NHL games between them.
Malone came out of a two-year retirement this summer to try out for the Minnesota Wild. He didn’t make the team but succeeded in his initial aspiration, to latch on with an AHL club so he could make an Olympic run.
Malone’s 25-game agreement with Iowa runs into December and can be renewed. The U.S. Olympic team of 25 players will be named around Jan. 1.
The unsigned Gionta did not take part in an NHL training camp this summer but reportedly had an exploratory meeting with the AHL club in Rochester, N.Y., on Sept. 25. USA Hockey confirmed that Gionta was on its Olympic team radar, but he will likely have to be playing for a non-NHL club to be considered for the final roster.
Malone and Gionta are older than all but one previous U.S. Olympic hockey player (Chris Chelios, who played at age 40 in 2002 and 44 in 2006 and is an assistant on the PyeongChang team).
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