U.S. Olympic men’s hockey roster

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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:

Goalies
Ryan Zapolski (Russia) — NHL Games: 0
TBA
TBA

Defensemen
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

Forwards
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.

The breakdown:

Europe: 15 (Russia-5, Swiss-5, Sweden-3, German-2)
NCAA: 4
AHL: 3
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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MORE: Full Olympic hockey schedule

Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s first Olympic track and field medalist, has coronavirus

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Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s lone Olympic track and field medalist, tested positive for the coronavirus, according to World Athletics and an Iranian news agency.

“We’ve received word from several Asian journalists that Iranian discus thrower Ehsan Hadadi has tested positive for coronavirus,” according to World Athletics. “[Hadadi] trains part of the year in the US, but was home in Tehran when he contracted the virus.”

Hadadi, 35, became the first Iranian to earn an Olympic track and field medal when he took silver in the discus at the 2012 London Games. Hadadi led through four of six rounds before being overtaken by German Robert Harting, who edged the Iranian by three and a half inches.

He was eliminated in qualifying at the Rio Olympics and placed seventh at last fall’s world championships in Doha.

Jordan Larson preps for her last Olympics, one year later than expected

Jordan Larson
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Whether the Tokyo Olympics would have been this summer or in 2021, Jordan Larson knew this: It will mark her final tournament with the U.S. volleyball team, should she make the roster.

“I’m just not getting any younger,” said Larson, a 33-year-old outside hitter. “I’ve been playing consistently overseas for 12 years straight with no real offseason.

“I also have other endeavors in my life that I want to see. Getting married, having children, those kinds of things. The older I get, the more challenging those become.”

Larson, who debuted on the national team in 2009, has been a leader the last two Olympic cycles. She succeeded Christa Harmotto Dietzen as captain after the Rio Games. Larson started every match at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

As long as Larson was in the building, the U.S. never had to worry about the outside hitter position, said two-time Olympian and NBC Olympics volleyball analyst Kevin Barnett.

“She played as if she belonged from the start,” he said. “They will miss her all-around capability. They’ll miss her ability to make everyone around her better. She’s almost like having a libero who can hit.”

Karch Kiraly, the Olympic indoor and beach champion who took over as head coach after the 2012 Olympics, gushed about her court vision.

“It’s a little dated now, but somebody like Wayne Gretzky just saw things that other people didn’t see on the hockey rink,” Kiraly said in 2018. “And I remember reading about him one time, and the quote from an opposing goalie was, oh my god, here he comes, what does he see that I don’t see right now? She sees things sooner than most people.”

Larson grew up in Hooper, Neb., (population 830) and starred at the University of Nebraska. She was a three-time All-American who helped the team win a national title as a sophomore. She had the opportunity to leave Nebraska and try out for the Olympics in 2008 but chose to remain at school for her final season.

She earned the nickname “Governor” as a Cornhusker State sports icon.

Larson helped the U.S. win its first major international title at the 2014 World Championship. She was also part of the program’s two stingers — defeats in the 2012 Olympic final and 2016 Olympic semifinals, both matches where the U.S. won the first set (and convincingly in 2012).

“It just gives me chills thinking about it now,” Larson said of the Rio Olympic semifinals, where Serbia beat the U.S. 15-13 in the fifth. “That team, we put in so much. Not just on the court but off the court working on culture and working on how are we best for each other. How can we be the best team? How can we out-team people? Certain teams have a better one player that’s a standout that we maybe didn’t have or don’t have. So how can we out-team the other teams? We had just put in so much work that was just heartbreaking.”

Larson and the Americans rebounded to win the bronze-medal match two days later.

“I don’t know anybody that didn’t have their heart ripped out. It was just a soul-crusher of a match,” Kiraly said of the semifinal. “More meaningful was what a great response everybody, including Jordan, mounted to the disappointment of that loss.”

The U.S. took fifth at worlds in 2018 and is now ranked second in the world behind China.

Larson spent the past club season in Shanghai. The campaign ended in mid-January. She hadn’t heard anything about the coronavirus when she took her scheduled flight back to California, learning days later that LAX started screening for it. Now, she’s working out from her garage.

Larson is in line to become the fifth-oldest U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball player in history, according Olympedia and the OlyMADMen.

Her decade of experience could go a long way to help the next generation of outside hitters, led by three-time NCAA champion and Sullivan Award winner Kathryn Plummer.

“If you’re coming into the USA program as an outside hitter, in the next year or the quad or the quad after that,” Barnett said, “the measuring stick is going to be Jordan Larson.”

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