NEW YORK — The first U.S. Olympic men’s hockey roster without NHL players since 1994 includes one previous Olympian, the son of a Canadian legend and four NCAA skaters.
Brian Gionta, the leading goal scorer on the 2006 Olympic team, and Chris Bourque, son of Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, headline the 23 men announced at the Winter Classic on Monday.
Gionta is the captain. Two more goalies must still be announced.
The U.S. opens PyeongChang group play against Slovenia on Feb. 14. Russia and Slovakia are also in the group, which is the same four teams as in 2014.
The U.S. Olympic roster:
Ryan Zapolski (Russia) — NHL Games: 0
Chad Billins (Sweden) — NHL Games: 10
Jonathon Blum (Russia) — NHL Games: 110
Will Borgen (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0
Matt Gilroy (Russia) — NHL Games: 225
Ryan Gunderson (Sweden) — NHL Games: 0
Bobby Sanguinetti (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 45
Noah Welch (Sweden) — NHL Games: 75
James Wisniewski (Germany) — NHL Games: 552
Mark Arcobello (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 139
Chris Bourque (AHL) — NHL Games: 51
Bobby Butler (AHL) — NHL Games: 130
Ryan Donato (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0
Brian Gionta (unsigned) — NHL Games: 1,006
Jordan Greenway (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0
Chad Kolarik (Germany) — NHL Games: 6
Broc Little (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 0
John McCarthy (AHL) — NHL Games: 88
Brian O’Neill (Russia) — NHL Games: 22
Garrett Roe (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 0
Jim Slater (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 584
Ryan Stoa (Russia) — NHL Games: 40
Troy Terry (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0
USA Hockey officials and head coach Tony Granato previously said the team would include a mix of players based in European leagues, the AHL and the NCAA.
Europe: 15 (Russia-5, Swiss-5, Sweden-3, German-2)
Unsigned: 1 (Gionta trains with an AHL team)
Players with NHL experience: 15 of 23
Total NHL experience: 3,083 games (avg. 134 per player)
A notable absence is Ryan Malone, a 2010 Olympic silver medalist who unretired in the summer in a bid to return to the Games.
Gionta, a 38-year-old who may have played his last competitive club game, will become the oldest U.S. Olympic hockey player since Chris Chelios in 2006. Chelios is an assistant coach for this year’s team.
Granato said that Gionta looked “in midseason form” in the U.S.’ pre-Olympic tournament in November.
Granato knew Gionta would be the team captain as soon as the 15-season NHL veteran expressed interest in Team USA months ago.
“Plenty of other players you consider great leaders, but there’s one Brian Gionta,” said Granato, who retired from the NHL prior to Gionta’s first season in 2001-02. “We’re lucky he’s an American.”
Bourque, the AHL’s leading points scorer, will become the second Olympian in his family. Father Ray, the longtime Boston Bruins defenseman, played for Canada at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.
“It’s one of the biggest moments in not only my hockey career, but in my life,” Bourque said, according to his AHL team, the Hershey (Pa.) Bears.
Borgen, Donato, Greenway and Terry will be the first college men to play for a U.S. Olympic team since 1994. Terry, 20, will be the youngest U.S. man to play at the Olympics since 1992.
Zapolski, 31, has been the star U.S. goalie playing abroad this season. He was the KHL goalie of the month for October, including a 245-minute shutout streak, third-longest in league history.
“He’s on our roster, the first goalie for a reason,” Granato said when asked if Zapolski would be his No. 1 goalie in PyeongChang.
Granato said the other two goalies will be named in the next two weeks.
Fifteen of the 23 players were on the U.S. team at the Deutschland Cup in Germany in November.
The Americans went 0-3 at the Deutschland Cup but outshot Slovakia, Russia and Germany by a combined 95 to 60.
The U.S. is the first nation to announce its Olympic men’s hockey team. Canada’s is expected to be named next week.
The Olympic favorite is Russia, since it is expected to lean heavily on KHL stars such as four-time Olympians Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk.
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