Brian Gionta will captain US men’s Olympic hockey team

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: (L-R) Sled hockey player Declan Farmer and ice hockey players Brianna Decker and Brian Gionta attend the 100 Days Out 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics Celebration - Team USA in Times Square on November 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images for USOC)
File/Elsa/Getty Images for USOC
Sled hockey player Declan Farmer (left) and hockey players Brianna Decker and Brian Gionta were among players selected to the official US rosters for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Veteran winger Brian Gionta will serve as captain of the US Olympic hockey team at the Winter Olympics, which will be the first without NHL players since 1994.

USA Hockey announced its roster Monday at the Winter Classic in New York. It includes college players Troy Terry from Denver, Jordan Greenway from Boston University, Will Borgen from St. Cloud State, and Ryan Donato from Harvard.

‘‘We really like our roster,’’ general manager Jim Johannson said. ‘‘It’s a group that brings versatility and experience and includes players who have a lot of passion about representing our country.’’


Without the ability to name NHL stars , the US roster is a mix of players from the NCAA ranks, European professional leagues, and the American Hockey League. AHL star Chris Bourque from Boston and a handful of former NHL players now in Europe, including Mark Arcobello, Jim Slater, James Wisniewski, and Bobby Sanguinetti, are expected to help Gionta on the leadership front. The roster also includes Brighton native and Harvard graduate Noah Welch and BU grad Matt Gilroy.

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‘‘I think it’s a great mix of young talent and veteran players with a lot of international experience,’’ said Sanguinetti, who was a first-round pick of the New York Rangers in 2006. ‘‘Excited to get together in a month.’’

This is the moment Bobby Butler of Marlborough and the Milwaukee Admirals told his dad he made the Olympic team:

Tony Granato, who played at the 1988 Olympics and now coaches at Wisconsin, will be behind the bench in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as the US seeks its first Olympic gold medal since the 1980 ‘‘Miracle On Ice’’ team. The US lost the bronze medal game to Finland in 2014 and got the silver in Vancouver in 2010.

But this is an entirely different dynamic with the NHL choosing not to send players, as national federations couldn’t pick any player with an active NHL contract. The initial US roster includes the admittedly ‘‘semi-retired’’ Gionta, a former Boston College star, three players from the AHL in Bourque, Bobby Butler, and John McCarthy (BU), four from college and 15 currently playing in leagues across Europe.


Ryan Zapolski, who plays for Finnish-based Jokerit in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, is the only goaltender on the roster so far, with two more to be added later in January. Granato said after the pre-Olympic Deutschland Cup that Zapolski had the tools to be the Americans’ starting goalie even though it was too early to name him as such.

Two-time defending gold-medal-winning Canada is expected to announce its roster on Jan. 11. Because NHL players aren’t going, Gionta called the tournament ‘‘wide open,’’ something Canada coach Willie Desjardins and others have said in recent months.

To that end, the US roster is a blend of youth and experience that also takes into account the wider, international-sized ice that the tournament will be played on.

‘‘We have a decent amount of players that are already used to playing in Europe on the big ice, which can be helpful,’’ said defenseman Ryan Gunderson, who’s currently playing in Sweden. ‘‘[We have] some younger, college guys, which I'm sure will bring a lot of skill and energy, then proven AHL players that can produce, as well. Gio, of course, has experienced the Olympics before and will lead the way.’’

Gionta, 38, put up 588 points in 1,006 regular-season games over 15 NHL seasons for the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens, and Buffalo Sabres. He played for the US at the 2006 Olympics and has been practicing with the AHL’s Rochester Americans to stay in shape for Pyeongchang.


The US faces Slovenia in its Olympic opener on Feb. 14.

The roster for the women’s team includes 10 Olympians, six of whom competed at both the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Games — Westfield native Kacey Bellamy, captain Meghan Duggan of Danvers, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique Lamoureux-Davidson, and Gigi Marvin — and four that made their Olympic debut in Sochi — Northeastern graduate Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel, and Lee Stecklein.

All 23 players on the roster have a collegiate hockey background, representing a total of nine NCAA schools.

Boston College has five representatives, including defenseman Cayla Barnes ’22, defenseman Kali Flanagan ’19 of Burlington, defenseman Megan Keller ’19, defenseman Emily Pfalzer ’15, and forward Haley Skarupa ’16.

Also on the roster is University of Vermont graduate Amanda Pelkey.

“Today we took another step toward achieving our ultimate goal, which is to bring home a gold medal from South Korea,” said Reagan Carey, general manager of the 2018 US Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team and also the director of women’s hockey for USA Hockey, “We’ve had an exceptional four months in Wesley Chapel, Fla., leading up to this point and are confident that these 23 women give our country the best opportunity to reach the top of the podium in February.”

“The amount of skill and depth of talent on this roster is second-to-none and I couldn’t be more excited to see what these 23 women can do on the world stage in PyeongChang,” said Stauber, “With just a month to go until the Olympics, and now with our roster set, our focus only gets sharper. We’ll be ready to go.”

Fourteen of the 23 players on the final roster have been recognized as top-10 finishers for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which annually recognizes the top NCAA Division 1 women’s college hockey player, and four have taken the trophy – Coyne (2016), Kessel (2013), Decker (2012), Duggan (2011).

The final two cuts from the team were 2015 Kazmaier winner Alex Carpenter of Reading, and veteran Megan Bozek.

The 17-player sled roster includes nine players with Paralympic experience, led by captain Josh Pauls, alternate captains Declan Farmer and Nikko Landeros and goaltender Steve Cash). All four were members of the gold medal-winning 2014 Paralympic Sled Hockey Team.

“As a whole, this team has all the ingredients to be successful,” said Dan Brennan, director of sled hockey for USA Hockey and general manager of the 2018 US Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. “We’re going to be a fast-paced, puck-moving team that is led by a great core of veterans who knows what it takes to win.”

The US has medaled in four of the five Paralympic Winters Games it has competed in, with gold medals in 2014, 2010, and 2002 and a bronze medal in 2006.

The 2018 Paralympic Winter Games begin March 9 in PyeongChang, South Korea.


US Men’s team:

GOALTENDERS: Ryan Zapolski, Erie, Pa.;

DEFENSEMEN: Chad Billins, Marysville, Mich.; Jonathon Blum, Ladera Ranch, Calif.; Will Borgen, Moorhead, Minn; Matt Gilroy, North Bellemore, N.Y.; Ryan Gunderson, Bensalem, Pa.; Bobby Sanguinetti, Trenton, N.J.; Noah Welch, Brighton, Mass.; James Wisniewski, Canton, Mich.;

FORWARDS: Mark Arcobello, Milford, Conn.; Chris Bourque, Boston, Mass.; Bobby Butler, Marlborough, Mass.; Ryan Donato, Scituate, Mass.; Brian Gionta, Rochester, N.Y.; Jordan Greenway, Canton, N.Y.; Chad Kolarik, Abington, Pa.; Broc Little, Phoenix, Ariz.; John McCarthy, Boston, Mass.; Brian O’Neill. Yardley, Pa.; Garrett Roe, Vienna, Va.; Jim Slater, Lapeer, Mich.; Ryan Stoa, Bloomington, Minn.; Troy Terry, Highlands Ranch, Colo.;

US Women’s team:

GOALTENDERS: Nicole Hensley, Lakewood, Colo.; Alex Rigsby, L Delafield, Wis.; Maddie Rooney, Andover, Minn.;

DEFENSE: Lee Stecklein, Roseville, Minn.; Cayla Barnes, Eastvale, Calif.; Megan Keller, Farmington, Mich.; Kali Flanagan, Burlington, Mass.; Emily Pfalzer, Buffalo, N.Y.; Kacey Bellamy, Westfield, Mass.; Sidney Morin, Minnetonka, Minn.

FORWARDS: Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Grand Forks, N.D.; Meghan Duggan, Danvers, Mass.; Haley Skarupa, Rockville, Md.; Kelly Pannek, Plymouth, Minn.; Brianna Decker, Dousman, Wis.; Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson,Grand Forks, N.D.; Gigi Marvin, Warroad, Minn.; Hannah Brandt, Vadnais Heights, Minn.; Hilary Knight, Sun Valley, Idaho; Dani Cameranesi, Plymouth, Minn.; Kendall Coyne, Palos Heights, Ill.; Amanda Kessel, Madison, Wis.; Amanda Pelkey, Montpelier, Vt.

Paralympic Sled Hockey team:

GOALTENDERS: Jen Lee, San Francisco, Calif.; Steve Cash, Overland, Mo.;

DEFENSEMEN: Ralph DeQuebec, San Pedro, Calif.; Billy Hanning, Festus, Mo.; Tyler Carron, Fort Collins, Colo.; Nikko Landeros, Johnstown, Colo.; Josh Pauls, Green Brook, N.J.;

FORWARDS: Brody Roybal, Northlake, Ill.; Jack Wallace, Franklin Lakes, N.J.; Travis Dodson, Deming, N.M.; Luke McDermott, Westerlo, N.Y.; Declan Farmer, Tampa, Fla.; Kevin McKee, Chicago, Ill.; Adam Page, Lancaster, N.Y.; Noah Grove, Frederick, Md; Rico Roman, Portland, Ore.; Josh Misiewicz, La Grange, Ill.