Good Afternoon Wilderness… Today, I am going to talk briefly about the USA Olympic hockey roster and the college hockey connections to team USA. If you take a look the USA hockey roster – 20-of-25 players – that's 80 percent of the players on the USA Olympic hockey team roster have a connection to division I college hockey. The other five players on the USA Olympic team were developed in the Canadian Hockey League. Since my job is to focus on college hockey, I am more concerned with the players that played division I college hockey.
Wisconsin leads the way for team USA
Here's a brief breakdown of some of the division I college hockey teams represented on team USA. Minnesota Gopher Hockey fans will be happy to know that the University of Wisconsin leads the way for team USA with four former college hockey players on the team (Ryan McDonagh, Joe Pavelski, Derek Stepan and Ryan Suter). Coming in second, the University of Minnesota has three former college hockey players on team USA (Phil Kessel, Paul Martin and Blake Wheeler) . Finally, coming in third, the University of North Dakota has two former college hockey players on team USA (T.J. Oshie and Zach Parise).
According to College Hockey Incorporated, 19 college hockey programs will be represented at the 2014 Sochi Olympic games. After team USA, the Austrian team led by former Gophers
and future Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek has the second most Olympic players with college hockey experience. Below, is a breakdown of the former college hockey players on team USA.
Goaltenders (3-of-3 NCAA Experience)
Defenseman (6-of-8 NCAA Experience)
Brooks Orpik, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston College Eagles (1998-01)
Forwards (11-of-14 NCAA Experience)
David Backes, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota State University (2003-06)
T.J. Oshie, St. Louis Blues, University of North Dakota (2005-08)
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild, University of North Dakota (2002-04)
Derek Stepan, New York Rangers, University of Wisconsin (2008-10)
James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Hampshire (2007-09)
This video from the 2010 Olympic games should get you into the mood for some Olympic hockey.
Olympic Hockey TV Schedule
The first game for team USA is on February 13, 2014, and the game will be shown on NBCSN live at 6:30 a.m. central. For the fans that aren't morning people, that game will also be rebroadcast at 4:00 p.m. central. Team USA will then play the host team Russian on February 15, 2014, at 6:30 a.m. central. Team USA will play their final preliminary game on Tuesday February 16, 2014. For the schedule of games times, you can view the full schedule by going to the team USA webpage.