Brianna Decker shoots against Canada during the women's gold-medal game at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 22, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
A jigsaw puzzle provides all parts required to create a finished product but the task of selecting which pieces to include presents a different set of challenges.
General manager Katie Million and head coach Joel Johnson had the honor of attempting to solve this riddle that won’t have a result until mid-February after the gold-medal game of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
The final 23-player roster was announced Saturday night at the second intermission of the NHL’s Winter Classic game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn.
“When you look at our lineup, we have some youthful talent that brings a skillset that’s unmatched, we also have some veteran leadership,” Johnson said. “If we put the right puzzle together and combine the two, it should lead to some fun times.”
On paper, the United States has found that balance with 13 players returning from the 2018 gold medal-winning roster coupled with eight skaters looking to build on that tradition. In addition, defenseman Megan Bozek and forward Alex Carpenter will return. They were part of the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 team but were among the final cuts prior to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
While an infusion of new energy is welcomed and needed every Olympic cycle, Johnson is expecting his veterans to lead from within.
“You are going to go as your leaders go,” Johnson said. “That doesn’t always mean they are going to score, lead the tournament in points but they are going to lead. They are going to lead in the room, in the hotel, in the video room, they are going to lead everywhere. That allows the younger players that might have a special talent to jump up into the spotlight.”
Caroline Harvey, who turned 19 in October and is the youngest member on the roster, is one player equipped with a special talent and could provide an enormous boost to the United States’ blueline.