The U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team, forced to recruit from the college and European professional ranks after the NHL refused to halt its season to allow players to represent their homelands next month at the Pyeongchang Games, will feature only one player with previous Olympic experience and will consist of about a dozen players who are 30 or older.
The most familiar name on the roster is forward Brian Gionta, who recently completed a 1,006-game NHL career last season and played in the 2006 Winter Games. He was named the team’s captain and will turn 39 before the Games begin.
Also named among the one goaltender, eight defensemen and 14 forwards were former Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski, who last played an NHL game in the 2015-16 season; former Nashville defenseman Jon Blum of Rancho Santa Margarita, who is playing in Russia’s KHL; and 20-year-old Ducks forward prospect Troy Terry of the University of Denver. Ryan Donato, a Buffalo Sabres prospect, is the son of 1992 Olympian Ted Donato. Two more goalies will be named in mid-January.
Less known are forward Ryan Stoa, 30, of Bloomington, Minn., and Spartak Moscow of the KHL; 35-year-old Jim Slater of Lapeer, Mich., and the Swiss National League; and 29-year-old Broc Little of Phoenix and the Swiss Hockey League. The team will be coached by Tony Granato, a former Kings forward.
The NHL’s refusal to release its players to play in the Olympics has left each of the men’s teams in the same boat. They must all choose among players in domestic or foreign leagues other than the NHL, and NCAA players.
The U.S. women’s 23-player roster is led by six two-time Olympians, including captain Meghan Duggan of Danvers, Mass. Defenseman Cayla Barnes of Eastvale in Riverside County, a late addition to the team out of Boston College, is the youngest player at 18. The team will be coached by Robb Stauber, a former Kings goaltender. Here’s a link to the full roster.
The U.S. women have not won Olympic gold since the women’s game made its debut at the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan. Canada has won the last four gold medals.