Ice Hockey - Women

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PREVIEW

The U.S. women’s ice hockey team has medaled at every Olympic Winter Games since the sport was introduced at the Nagano 1998 Olympic Winter Games, winning one gold (1998), two silvers (2002, 2010) and one bronze (2006). As announced in June 2012, Team USA will be led by Head Coach Katey Stone, who will be the first female head coach to lead the U.S. women’s ice hockey team at an Olympic Winter Games.

Stone, who is currently in her 19th season behind the Harvard University bench, arrived at the helm of the U.S. women’s hockey program in 2010. She has since guided teams to three top-two finishes in the Four Nations Cup, including back-to-back titles in 2011-12. She most recently led the U.S. to its second and third straight world championship medals (gold, 2011; silver, 2012). She will direct the national team at the 2013 World Championship in April and 2013 Four Nations Cup in November, among other key events leading up to the Sochi Games. 

In Olympic competition, the U.S. has posted an 18-0-1-2-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) overall record. Against opponents already qualified for the Sochi Games (Canada, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Russia), the U.S. is 11-0-1-2-0 in past Olympic contests. Team USA is the only other squad aside from Canada to have won an Olympic gold medal. The U.S. holds a 32-10-11-52-1 all-time record vs. Canada in IIHF competition. Against all other teams qualified for the Sochi Games in IIHF competition, the U.S. has only lost two games and tied another two in 80 games played.

The U.S. will field another strong roster, featuring a mix of veterans and collegiate players, as it has done for its past four international competitions over the last two seasons. The squad’s average age was 23 years old over the last three international competitions. Additionally, several of the post-collegiate veterans play for the Boston Blades in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which allows them to consistently play and train together to enhance the core of the team.

STORYLINES

  • Approximately 13 hopefuls for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team currently play for the Boston Blades in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. The core group also trains with the Blades Strength Coach Mike Boyle and live together in the same neighborhood in order to prepare for the Sochi Games. Several of the players also have part-time jobs to help with living and training expenses and have put off many other aspects of their lives in order to work toward making the Olympic Team.
  • Also a member of the Boston Blades team, goaltender Molly Schaus is heavily involved in volunteering with the Cradles to Crayons, a local organization that provides low-income youth with the essential items they need to thrive in their community. Schaus first began working with the organization in October 2011, and has helped coordinate two events to connect hockey with  the volunteer program.
  • Amanda Kessel and brother Phil Kessel could potentially both be competing for Team USA at the Sochi Games. Kessel is also a member of the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team.
  • Katey Stone will serve as the first female head coach of a U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team.Currently in her 19th season with the Harvard women’s ice hockey program, Stone is the winningest coach in the history of NCAA Division I women’s hockey.
  • In addition to playing for the Montreal Stars in 2012-13, Julie Chu has been serving as an assistant coach for the Union College women’s ice hockey team.

ATHLETES TO WATCH

Julie Chu
Chu has medaled with Team USA in every Olympic Winter Games dating back to 2002. She has twice earned silver (2002, 2010) and once earned bronze (2006). For the 2012-13 season, Chu plays for the Montreal Stars and is an assistant coach with the Union College women’s ice hockey team. She currently maintains a blog with both the USOC and espnW.

Meghan Duggan
Duggan, a member of the Boston Blades in 2012-13, has been struggling to fully recover from an injury suffered in late December 2011. She has been intermittently competing with the team and last participated in the 2012 Women’s National Festival and in two games of the 2012 Four Nations Cup. Duggan, who has been a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team since 2007, was named USA Hockey’s Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year in 2011, and was also recognized with the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award for the best player in collegiate women’s hockey. She’s helped the U.S. win three gold medals at the IIHF Women’s World Championships, and was a silver medalist at the Vancouver Games.

Amanda Kessel
Kessel is currently the nation’s top collegiate offensive player. As of Dec. 17, 2012, she was leading the NCAA in goals, assists, points and shorthanded goals on an undefeated University of Minnesota team. Brother Phil Kessel earned a silver medal with the U.S. men’s hockey team at the Vancouver Games. The two have the potential to be the first brother-sister combo concurrently competing for Team USA in Olympic ice hockey.

Hilary Knight
Knight has been a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team since she was 17 years old (2007). Knight was a dominate player in the NCAA for the University of Wisconsin and garnered All-America honors and was twice a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. She has helped the U.S. win three gold medals and two silver medals at the IIHF Women’s World Championships, as well as a silver medal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Kelli Stack
Stack was voted best forward of the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Championship after scoring five goals and adding eight assists in five games. She also had an impressive showing at the 2012 Four Nations Cup with two goals and one assist in four games. Stack suffered a lower body injury in December 2012, and is rehabilitating with the goal of being available to play at the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championship.

Jessie Vetter
Vetter is currently the team’s top goaltender and is playing the 2012-13 season with the Oregon Outlaws, a men’s team in the Great Lakes Hockey League. Vetter is also a coach for the Madison Capitals girls’ hockey program and is the director of hockey at Athletic Republic, Madison.   

QUALIFICATION

Automatic qualification for the women's tournament at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games was determined by the IIHF world ranking following the 2012 IIHF Women's World Championships. The top-five teams in the world ranking received automatic berths into the Olympic Games, including the U.S., which ranked second. As host, Russia earns a direct berth, while all other teams will have an opportunity to qualify for the remaining two spots in the Sochi Games.

SELECTION

Players will be continually evaluated leading up to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in various camps and tournaments. The preliminary Olympic roster will be named in June 2013 at the conclusion of the summer training camp. The final Olympic roster will be named in late December.

KEY DATES


March 25-April 1 Pre-IIHF Women’s World Championship Camp Lake Placid, N.Y.
April 2-10 IIHF Women’s World Championship Ottawa, Ontario
June 16-27 Training Camp (roster trimmed to 25-27) Lake Placid, N.Y.
Aug. 12-21 Women’s National Festival Blaine, Minn.
September Beginning of team residency TBD
Nov. 4-10 Four Nations Cup Lake Placid, N.Y.
December Olympic Team announced