The 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea are going to be a bit of a letdown for some hockey fans.
The NHL has held fast to its decision not to send any players to the games, including any on NHL deals in the minors - meaning that even the league’s lower-tier skaters will be prevented from heading overseas, leaving few options for the teams most heavily represented in NHL play.
Teams USA and Canada have been the hardest hit, as evidenced by the finalized roster released by Team USA on Monday afternoon; it’s a mix-match of NCAA players, former NHLers playing overseas, and a few on AHL-only deals.
Some of the names are exciting to fans (Troy Terry, for example, will represent USA out of the University of Denver and Mark Arcobello will get his second sniff of international play at the would-be highest level, after winning a bronze for USA in 2015), but others may be either complete mysteries or surprising has-beens.
Check out the full list here:
Introducing the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s, Women’s & Paralympic Sled rosters! #TeamUSA— USA Hockey (@usahockey) January 1, 2018
Details → https://t.co/JcdKE6nLsz pic.twitter.com/Kl774zltCX
As you’ll notice, though, the men’s team wasn’t the only one announced on Monday - and the other two may be far more exciting for USA fans, at the very least, as they head into international play in the next few months.
For starters, the US Women’s National Team is expected, as always, to be one of the most competitive brought to the Olympic Games, even with some questionable roster cuts earlier in the selection process.
Then, there’s the US Sled Hockey program.
Although few have caught on to the dynamic play offered in sled hockey, captain Josh Pauls put it nicely in his Player’s Tribune piece from a few years ago: he hasn’t met anyone who’s watched a game of sled hockey and found it boring. Read a little more about the game itself, from the captain’s own journey. [Player’s Tribune]
Tampa Bay also offers one of the most dynamic on-ice talents in any medium in 20-year old forward Declan Farmer. A double-amputee at birth, the elite scoring youngster appeared in his first Olympic Games in 2014 at just 16-years of age. Now, he’ll look to seek gold (again). [Raw Charge]
If you want an example of just how good Declan Farmer is, check out this highlight reel:
There’s also an incredibly special story in Jordan Greenway’s announcement as a part of the men’s roster. He’ll become the first African-American to compete at the Olympics for ice hockey, and that’s huge. Here’s a closer look at that story. [Sporting News]
As the New Year gets under way, take a look back at some of the best moments in women’s hockey for NWHL players. [The Ice Garden]
It’s also a perfect 4-0 record for Henrik Lundqvist in outdoor games, as the king of Swedish goaltending took home another two points on New Year’s Day at Citi Field.
The veteran netminder would love to play outdoor games every year (meaning it’s only a matter of time before he joins the Chicago Blackhawks), but the special story he shared after the game means a lot more than his love of playing under the open skies:
Finally, the Olympic roster may be a bit of a letdown for the spectators, but one player’s addition to the lineup made for the feel-good video of 2018... already.
Bobby Butler told his dad he made the Olympic team— SB Nation (@SBNation) January 2, 2018
His reaction is priceless ❤️❤️❤️
( : @mkeadmirals) pic.twitter.com/IS31to8ZO1