U.S., Canada women’s hockey teams bring vets to 3-on-3 throwdown on NHL All-Star weekend

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While 3-on-3 hockey is an unusual event, the demonstration game on the NHL’s All-Star weekend will have a familiar look to anyone who has seen women’s hockey in the Olympics or world championships.

The U.S. and Canadian women, who have faced off in 18 of the 19 world championship finals to date and five of the six Olympic finals, will bring heavily experienced teams to the 3-on-3 matchup, which will be broadcast live along with the All-Star skills competitions at 8 p.m. ET Jan. 24 on NBCSN.

One woman from each side will also be part of NHL Shooting Stars event, in which players will shoot at targets on the ice from a 30-foot platform behind one goal. The women’s players, who will compete against eight NHL players in this individual event, will be selected by social media vote.

The only players on either roster who were not on their teams’ 2018 Olympic rosters are U.S. players Alex Carpenter and Annie Pankowski. Carpenter played in the 2014 Olympics and on five gold medal-winning world championship teams. Pankowski is the only player without Olympic experience, but she has played in three world championships.

READ: U.S. wins 2018 Olympic gold

Most of the players in the 3-on-3 game have also faced each other in the first two games of a five-game Rivalry Series that started last month and wraps in February. The exceptions are Brianna Decker and Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson, each of whom was a fixture on the roster through the 2010s.

The U.S. won both of last month’s games. On Dec. 14 in Hartford, Conn., Carpenter and Amanda Kessel each had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win, with goaltender Alex Rigsby Cavallini named player of the game. All three players are on the 3-on-3 roster.

Three days later in Moncton, New Brunswick, the U.S. took a 2-1 win, with Kessel picking up an assist on Carpenter’s game-winning goal.

Six college players made their national team debuts in the series’ first two games. Abby Roque scored in each game, and Aerin Frankel won her debut in goal in the close game in Moncton.

The two coaches are also veteran players, each of whom now holds an NHL job. The U.S. coach is Cammi Granato, a mainstay of the U.S. team in the 1990s and early 2000s who has been named as a scout for Seattle’s NHL expansion team. Four-time Olympic champion Jayna Hefford will coach Canada.

Canada was nearly unbeatable in the first 15 years of international competition, losing to the U.S. in the inaugural Olympic final in 1998 but winning every world championship until 2005. Since then, the balance of power has swung to the U.S., which has won eight of the last nine world championships and the 2018 Olympics.

The 3-on-3 game will have two 10-minute periods with a running clock. All penalties will result in a penalty shot, awarded to the player who was fouled.

United States roster

  • D Kacey Bellamy 
  • F Alex Carpenter 
  • F Kendall Coyne Schofield 
  • F Brianna Decker 
  • F Amanda Kessel 
  • F Hilary Knight 
  • F Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson 
  • F Annie Pankowski 
  • G Alex Rigsby Cavallini 
  • D Lee Stecklein 

Coach: Cammi Granato

Canadian roster

  • F Meghan Agosta
  • F Mélodie Daoust
  • G Ann-Renée Desbiens 
  • D Renata Fast
  • D Laura Fortino
  • F Rebecca Johnston
  • F Sarah Nurse
  • F Marie-Philip Poulin 
  • F Natalie Spooner
  • F Blayre Turnbull

Coach: Jayna Hefford

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Dan Hicks, Rowdy Gaines call backyard pool swim race

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Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines covered swimming together at the last six Olympics, including every one of Michael Phelps‘ finals, but they’ve never called a “race” quite like this.

“We heard you were looking for something to commentate during the down time….might this short short short course 100 IM help?” tweeted Cathleen Pruden, posting a video of younger sister Mary Pruden, a sophomore swimmer at Columbia University, taking individual medley strokes in what appeared to be an inflatable backyard pool.

“Hang on,” Gaines replied. “This race of the century deserves the right call. @DanHicksNBC and I are working some magic!”

Later, Hicks posted a revised video dubbed with commentary from he and Gaines.

They became the latest commentators to go beyond the booth to post calls on social media while sports are halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NBC Sports hockey voice Doc Emrick (who has also called Olympic hockey and water polo) did play-by-play of a windshield wiper installation.

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MORE: Ledecky, Manuel welcome Olympic decision after training in backyard pool

Which athletes are qualified for the U.S. Olympic team?

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Soon after Tokyo Olympic qualifying events began getting postponed, the International Olympic Committee announced that all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes.

The IOC repeated that position over the last week, after the Tokyo Games were postponed (now to open July 23, 2021). What does that mean for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee?

Well, 76 athletes qualified for the U.S. Olympic team before the Olympic postponement was announced. That full list is here.

Those 76 athletes can be separated into two categories.

  • Athletes who earned Olympic spots BY NAME via International Federation (i.e. International Surfing Association or International Aquatics Federation) selection procedures.
  • Athletes named to the U.S. Olympic team by their national governing body (i.e. USA Swimming or USA Track and Field) and confirmed by the USOPC using NGB selection procedures after the NGB earned a quota spot.

When the IOC says “all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes,” it means just that. USA Softball still has 15 athlete quota spots from qualifying a full team via international results. Surfer Kolohe Andino still has his Olympic spot from qualifying BY NAME via the International Surfing Association selection procedures route.

USA Softball named its 15-player Olympic roster last fall. Those 15 athletes did not earn Olympic quota spots for themselves. Unlike Andino (and 13 other American qualifiers across all sports), the 15 softball players had to be nominated by USA Softball and confirmed by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Unless and until the USOPC confirms that any of those other 62 athletes remain qualified, for now the list of U.S. Olympic qualifiers is these 14 who qualified BY NAME:

Karate (1)
Sakura Kokumai

Modern Pentathlon (2)
Samantha Achterberg
Amro Elgeziry

Swimming (3)
Haley Anderson
Ashley Twichell
Jordan Wilimovsky

Sport Climbing (4)
Kyra Condie
Brooke Raboutou
Nathaniel Coleman
Colin Duffy

Surfing (4)
Caroline Marks
Carissa Moore
Kolohe Andino
John John Florence

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MORE: Qualified athletes go into limbo with Tokyo postponement