Chris Bourque

Chris Bourque
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Chris Bourque once cheered Canada at Olympics; now he plays for U.S.

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U.S. hockey player Chris Bourque‘s second Olympic experience will be vastly different than his first, 20 years ago at the Nagano Winter Games.

“I was actually there rooting for Canada,” he said Friday.

Bourque, then 12 years old, accompanied his dad, Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, who was part of the first Canadian Olympic hockey team with NHL players in 1998.

Bourque remembers the bobsled here. The figure skating there. The curling over there.

“It’s kind of like going to Disney World,” the Hershey (Pa.) Bears forward said in a press conference Friday, the same day he was named to his sixth American Hockey League All-Star game. Bourque is the AHL scoring leader with 39 points in 35 games.

Bourque will return to the Olympics next month as one of the veteran players on the U.S. Olympic team, the first without NHL players since 1994. The full roster is here.

He will march in the Opening Ceremony.

“That’s going to be an experience, walking with fellow U.S. Olympians and with the flag and everything that comes with that with the other countries being there,” he said. “It’s bigger than hockey.”

It’s also an opportunity Bourque never thought he would get. Bourque is like the Crash Davis of hockey.

“It’s one of the biggest moments in not only my hockey career, but in my life,” Bourque said in a Monday press release when the 25-man Olympic team was named.

He is the active career AHL scoring leader with 678 points among Hershey, Hartford, Providence and Portland.

He has played in the top U.S. minor league off and on since the 2004-05 season. He has also played 51 NHL games, including 18 with his father’s longtime club, the Boston Bruins, in the 2012-13 season.

“For every guy it’s the ultimate goal to play in the NHL, and I don’t think anybody really gives up on that dream ’til the day they retire,” Bourque said last year, according to The Associated Press. “There’s always a chance. It’s just about getting opportunity, about [other players] having injuries and playing well and that kind of stuff needs to kind of happen at the right time. I’m going to keep grinding away and hopefully I do get another opportunity.”

When the NHL said last year it would not send players to the PyeongChang Winter Games, Bourque became an instant favorite to make the U.S. team. Other AHL stars aren’t eligible if they’re on NHL contracts.

Bourque has already spoken to his father about what’s ahead.

“He just said enjoy it,” he said. “It’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, obviously, and just enjoy every second of it.”

He pointed out that he went to high school with two of the other 47 players on the U.S. men’s and women’s hockey teams — Meghan Duggan and Broc Little.

“Surreal is the word that I’m going to be using a lot,” Bourque said. “It still feels like a dream to me. I don’t think I’ll really fully get it until I get to the Olympics.”

Bourque’s Olympic experience will come full circle. Not only will his dad fly to PyeongChang, but so will his wife and two children.

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MORE: PyeongChang Olympic hockey schedule announced

USA Hockey names Olympic, Paralympic rosters

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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 named.

The U.S. opens PyeongChang group play against Slovenia on Feb. 14. Russia, the gold-medal favorite, and Slovakia are also in the group, which is the same four teams as in 2014.

The full rosters for the Olympic women’s team and the Paralympic team were also named Monday.

The U.S. women are led by captain Meghan Duggan and fellow forwards Hilary Knight and Amanda Kessel, all part of the Sochi silver-medal team.

The full teams named Monday:

U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey 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

MORE: Analysis of U.S. Olympic men’s hockey roster

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U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Roster
Goalies
Nicole Hensley
Alex Rigsby
Maddie Rooney

Defenders
Cayla Barnes
Kacey Bellamy — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Kali Flanagan
Megan Keller
Sidney Morin
Emily Pfalzer
Lee Stecklein — Olympian (2014)

Forwards
Hannah Brandt
Dani Cameranesi
Kendall Coyne — Olympian (2014)
Brianna Decker — Olympian (2014)
Meghan Duggan — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Amanda Kessel — Olympian (2014)
Hilary Knight — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Monique Lamoureux-Morando — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Gigi Marvin — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Kelly Pannek
Amanda Pelkey
Haley Skarupa

MORE: Analysis of U.S. Olympic women’s hockey roster

—————————————

U.S. Paralympic Hockey Roster
Goalies
Steve Cash — Paralympian (2006, 2010, 2014)
Jen Lee — Paralympian (2014)

Defensemen
Tyler Carron — Paralympian (2014)
Ralph DeQuebec
Billy Hanning
Nikko Landeros — Paralympian (2010, 2014)
Josh Pauls — Paralympian (2010, 2014)

Forwards
Travis Dodson
Declan Farmer — Paralympian (2014)
Noah Grove
Luke McDermott
Kevin McKee — Paralympian (2014)
Josh Misiewicz
Adam Page — Paralympian (2010, 2014)
Rico Roman — Paralympian (2014)
Brody Roybal — Paralympian (2014)
Jack Wallace

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MORE: Full Olympic hockey schedule

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