SOCHI 2014

By Paul D. Bowker | Jan. 01, 2014, 11:04 p.m. (ET)
The 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team is named at the NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Team captain Meghan Duggan smiled. Defenseman Kacey Bellamy said hi to her mom via national TV. Julie Chu celebrated another chance to don her red, white and blue uniform.

The 21 players who were nominated for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team were introduced in grand but chilly fashion on New Year’s Day: In front of the largest crowd to turn out for a hockey game — 105,591 fans at Michigan Stadium — and a national television audience between periods of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

“It’s an incredible honor,” Duggan said. “As women, we have grown up wanting to be on this team since they had a (Olympic) team in 1998 in Nagano and they won a gold medal.”

“To unveil our 2014 Olympic Team in an atmosphere like the Big House, it’s a hard thing to put into words what it means to all of us,” U.S. coach Katey Stone said. “We’re so grateful for the opportunity to USA Hockey and all the support staff that made this happen.”

The team will begin play Feb. 8, the day after the Opening Ceremony, against Finland at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. All player nominations are subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee.

Team USA has won a medal in every Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament since the sport was added to the Olympic program in 1998, but the Americans have not won the gold medal since that Olympic debut year. The U.S. women took the silver medal in 2010 after losing to Canada in the gold-medal game in Vancouver.

Eleven members of the team have Olympic experience, including Chu, a forward who was team captain in 2012 and made her Olympic debut at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games. In making the team for the fourth time, she said she was impressed with the level of talent that was at the preliminary camp in June.

“I think, by far, this was the hardest roster to make,” she said. “I think especially as you get older the younger players are so talented and skilled. I think the big thing is just own whatever roles asked of me.

“I’m really proud. I’m so glad to have amazing teammates that have supported me, my friends, my family. They’re unbelievable, and I wouldn’t be here without them.”

At 31, Chu will be the oldest women’s player in U.S. history to play ice hockey at an Olympic Games. The youngest on the team is 19-year-old Lee Stecklein, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota.

Among others returning to the Olympic squad are twin sisters Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux, forwards Kelli Stack and Hilary Knight and all three goaltenders, Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle, Molly Schaus and Jessie Vetter. 

The United States and Canada have played seven times in the lead up to Sochi. After Canada took the first three games, Team USA won the final four, including a 3-2 victory Monday in Toronto. All that was left for Stone was to trim the national team roster from 23 to 21 for the Winter Games. One of the last cuts was Lisa Chesson, who represented Team USA in Vancouver.

“We’re thrilled with the team that we have,” said Stone, who has guided Harvard University to 378 victories and will be the first woman to coach the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team. “We have spent countless hours on making sure that we have the right group. We really believe we have the right group to compete for the gold medal.”

Other newcomers include Amanda Kessel, a high-scoring forward who is the younger sister of Phil Kessel, who was named to his second Olympic men’s team shortly after she was named to her first. Amanda scored two goals to help the United States win the 2013 world championship. Last year Kessel, then a junior, had a dream season. She led the nation in scoring, won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award and guided the University of Minnesota to an undefeated season and back-to-back national title.


GOALTENDERS  
Name Most Recent Team
Brianne McLaughlin Burlington Barracudas (CWHL)
Molly Schaus Boston Blades (CWHL)
Jessie Vetter Oregon Outlaws (GLHL)
DEFENSEMEN  
Name Most Recent Team
Kacey Bellamy Boston Blades (CWHL)
Megan Bozek University of Minnesota (WCHA)
Gigi Marvin Boston Blades (CWHL)
Michelle Picard Harvard University (ECACH)
Josephine Pucci Harvard University (ECACH)
Anne Schleper Boston Blades (CWHL)
Lee Stecklein University of Minnesota (WCHA)
FORWARDS  
Name Most Recent Team
Alex Carpenter Boston College (HEA)
Kendall Coyne Northeastern University (HEA)
Julie Chu Montreal Stars (CWHL)
Brianna Decker University of Wisconsin (WCHA)
Meghan Duggan Boston Blades (CWHL)
Lyndsey Fry Harvard University (ECACH)
Amanda Kessel University of Minnesota (WCHA)
Hilary Knight Boston Blades (CWHL)
Jocelyne Lamoureux University of North Dakota (WCHA)
Monique Lamoureux University of North Dakota (WCHA)
Kelli Stack Boston Blades (CWHL)

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org.

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