ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Among the 21 players named to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team here today at Michigan Stadium during the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic are 11 Olympic veterans, including Julie Chu (Fairfield, Conn.), who will be be making her fourth Olympic appearance.
The U.S. team, which includes three goaltenders, seven defensemen and 11 forwards, will continue training and competing in the Boston, Mass., area until departing for the Olympics on Feb. 1. The opening ceremonies are slated for Feb. 7, with Team USA's first game taking place on Feb. 8 against Finland.
The team was selected from the 25 players who made up the 2013-14 U.S. Women's National Team. In addition to competing on the Bring on the World Tour, which included the Four Nations Cup, the group has been practicing at the Edge Sports Center in Bedford, Mass., and training at MBSC in Woburn, Mass., since early September.
"We're excited to officially announce our roster," said Reagan Carey, general manager for Team USA and also USA Hockey's director of women's hockey. "We had some very tough decisions, but we're confident that we have assembled 21 players that will help us achieve our goal of winning the gold medal. These players have fully dedicated themselves and have earned this opportunity. We'd also like to acknowledge and thank those players who did not make the team. They have contributed greatly to the advancement of the team."
"Today is an important day for our team and we're thrilled to continue our journey toward Sochi," said Katey Stone, head coach for Team USA. "We have a good blend of veterans and first-time Olympians and we're excited about what lies ahead. We're enthusiastic about our team and focused on getting better every day."
In addition to Chu, the 10 additional players with Olympic experience on the U.S. roster include Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.), Meghan Duggan (Danvers, Mass.), Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho), Jocelyne Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.), Monique Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.), Gigi Marvin (Warroad, Minn.), Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle (Sheffield Village, Ohio), Molly Schaus (Natick, Mass.), Kelli Stack (Brooklyn Heights, Ohio), and Jessie Vetter (Cottage Grove, Wis.), who all played in 2010. All 21 players have competed in an International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship, including 18 who captured a gold medal last April to propel the United States to the No. 1 ranking in the world.
Lee Stecklein (Roseville, Minn.) is the youngest U.S. player at 19 years old (nine months, 16 days), just 10 days younger than Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.). Chu is the senior member of the team at 31 years old (10 months), making her the oldest player to ever represent the U.S. Women's Ice Hockey Team at the Olympics.
For more information on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team, including the full roster, click here.
Coverage of the 2014 U.S. Women's Olympic Team can be found on olympics.usahockey.com, as well as on the U.S. Women's National Team's Facebook page and on Twitter at @usahockey.
NOTES: The selection of the U.S. Olympic Women's Team is subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee’s Games Preparation Division ... Captains will be named at a later date ... The U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team has medaled in all four Olympic appearances to date (gold-1998, silver-2002 and 2010, bronze-2006) ... The 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team is under the direction of General Manager Reagan Carey (Colorado Springs, Colo.) ... Katey Stone (Arlington, Mass.) was named head coach on June 8, 2012, and will be the first female to serve as head coach of a U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Gavin Regan, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. Olympic Teams ...The 2014 Olympic Winter Games will take place Feb. 7-23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
For the last 15 years, Ian Walsh has crisscrossed the United States as an NHL official. In this Part 2 of our conversation with Walsh, the 42-year-old Philadelphia native fielded a series of questions discussing life on the road, his conditioning schedule, mentors, on-ice struggles, the evolution of the game and advice for aspiring officials.
USA Hockey: How do you think you've been able to maintain all of the officiating success you've had over the last 15 years?
Ian Walsh: I believe one of my strengths as an official is my work ethic. I come to the rink every night ready to work hard and give 100 percent. I also believe I am very coachable, and when I'm offered a suggestion for improvement, I try very hard to implement that advice into my game.
USAH: What is your conditioning schedule like during the NHL season? How about during the off-season?
Walsh: During the season, conditioning work is more about maintaining what you built up over the summer. The workouts aren't as intense but you must continue to take good care of your body. Game-day workouts usually include a 30-minute bike ride or a couple miles run at the hotel gym. I also like to do some core work and light strength training on top of that.
The weather in Portland is amazing in the summer, and I prefer to be outside and on my road bike. I usually get in about four days a week of riding outdoors to help build my endurance and strength. I try to play hockey a few days a week as well to help work on my skating.
USAH: When did you realize you finally had cemented your career as an official? What was that feeling like?
Walsh: I don't know if you ever get that feeling. Every night is a different challenge in our league. It is a hard, hard league to officiate. The scrutiny of every call, every goal, ever non-call is such a challenge for all of us. The best players and coaches in the world expect us to perform at such a high level every night, and we have to be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s a privilege to be on the ice in the NHL, and I think that is something no official takes for granted.
USAH: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date as an official?
Walsh: Being chosen to participate in four Stanley Cup playoffs is what I'm most proud of. It’s an incredible honor to be selected and that’s the goal for every official each year. Also, being part of the team that was chosen to represent the NHL at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a phenomenal experience and a great opportunity.
USAH: What has been the biggest hurdle/obstacle you've had to overcome in your officiating career?
Walsh: I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood, that I haven’t had any serious injuries. Other than some bumps and bruises, I’ve been relatively injury-free in my career. The biggest challenge is to be able to bounce back from calls you made that aren't correct. In this day and age, we usually know within minutes after the game if we made a wrong decision. When you make a call that impacts the game, it’s hard on the mind. Unfortunately, we make mistakes and what most people don't understand is that nobody takes it harder than the official making that mistake. Being able to bounce back from a mistake is something all officials must learn to do.
USAH: Who has had the most impact on your officiating career over the past 15 years? What has that person or those people taught you?
Walsh: Nobody has helped me more over my NHL career than fellow referee Paul Devorski. I've worked a lot of games with Paul and we’ve had the opportunity to travel together on the road. As an elite, veteran referee, he has been able to pass down some of his knowledge to me to help me become a better official. Paul is retiring this year, and our staff will sorely miss him.
USAH: How has the game changed, besides speed, since you started in the early 2000s?
Walsh: I would say the biggest change besides the speed of the game would be the use of technology. It is amazing what you see at rink – teams have iPads on the bench, super slo-motion video replays, hi-def video scoreboards, etc. With all that technology, it makes the officials job appear easy. People forget that the official on the ice sees a play one time, in real time, and must make a split-second decision on that play. It often appears quite different when you see a replay in super slo-mo on hi-def after a game.
USAH: What advice can you give aspiring NHL/professional league officials as they progress in their career?
Walsh: I would say make sure you have a backup plan. Making it to the NHL is everyone’s goal, but there are very few jobs available. There are so many factors that go into hiring an official and a lot of those are out of your control. Go and work the highest level available to you. Don't worry about other officials, if you are good enough, the NHL will find you. Also, control what you can control – always work on your skating, know your rules and come to the rink every night with a strong work ethic and a great attitude.