ANN ARBOR, Mich. - USA Hockey announced today the 25 players that will make up its 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team here today as part of the festivities at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The announcement was made at Michigan Stadium before a world-record crowd and also broadcast live on NBC Sports in the United States.
The roster includes 13 Olympians, a stark contrast to four years ago when the silver medal-winning 2010 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team featured just three players with Olympic experience. Among those selected with an Olympic pedigree are goaltenders Ryan Miller (East Lansing, Mich./Buffalo Sabres), who was the MVP of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games hockey tournament and Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y./Chicago Blackhawks), the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner who is currently second in the NHL scoring race with 23-30--53.
"We went through a very thorough process to get to today and could not be happier with the team we've selected," said David Poile, general manager of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team and also the GM and president of hockey operations for the NHL's Nashville Predators. "We're fortunate to have probably the deepest talent pool we've ever had in our country and that made for some very difficult decisions. In the end, however, we're confident we've selected a group of players that puts us in the best position to have success in Sochi."
"We appreciate the work done by David (Poile) and all those involved in putting this roster together," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "We look forward to what will be a great Olympics in Sochi, where hockey will be at the center of attention."
Along with Miller and Kane, eight other forwards, two defensemen and one additional goaltender with Olympic experience punctuate the roster, highlighted by defenseman Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis./Minnesota Wild), who is logging an NHL-best 29:40 of ice time per game and was a Norris Trophy finalist last season, and Jonathan Quick (Milford, Conn./L.A. Kings), who earned the 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy after helping the L.A. Kings to the Stanley Cup title.
The 25 players selected are, on average, 6-1, 203 pounds and 27 years old.
The selection of the U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team is subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee's Game Preparation Division.
For Team USA's full roster, click here.
NOTES: Team USA's roster includes 14 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders. Ryan Miller is the oldest player on Team USA at age 33 (Brooks Orpik is also 33, but two months younger), while Justin Faulk, at 21, is the youngest. The average age of Team USA by position is 29.7 for goaltenders; 25.9 for defensemen and 27.0 for forwards. The average age of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team was 26.5 ... U.S. General Manager David Poile established five players as the leadership group of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team, including David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter ... Team USA's captain and alternate captains will be formalized at a later date .... Eight players from Team USA hail from Minnesota, while five call the state of New York home. A total of eight states are represented as home states of U.S. players ... Thirteen members of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team were born in the first half of the year, while 12 were born in the second half ... All 25 members of Team USA, who represent 17 NHL teams, participated in USA Hockey's Men's National Team Camp held in August at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues each have three players on Team USA to lead the way ... The U.S. roster includes 15 first-round NHL draft picks, six second-round picks, as well as one third, fourth, fifth and seventh round choice. Patrick Kane is the highest pick, as he was taken first overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, while Joe Pavelski is the lowest pick, taken 205th overall in the seventh round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks ... All 25 players have worn the U.S. sweater in international competition at some level. Cumulatively, U.S. players have competed in 632 international games and captured 38 medals. A total of 11 players have won gold medals (Howard, Carlson, Faulk, Fowler, Suter, Kane, Kesler, Kessel, Parise, Stepan, van Riemsdyk) ... Ryan Suter has played the most games in international competition at 64, with Phil Kessel (53 games) and Dustin Brown (52 games) not far behind ... Twenty players have U.S. college hockey experience, with the University of Wisconsin leading the way with four players and the University of Minnesota with three players ... A total of nine players have competed for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program (Faulk, Fowler, Howard, Kane, Kesler, Kessel, Shattenkirk, Suter, van Riemsdyk) ... Nine players on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team have U.S. junior experience, including eight who played in the United States Hockey League and one who competed in the North American Hockey League ... Ryan Suter's father Bob played on the 1980 Miracle on Ice Team, while his uncle Gary played on the 2002 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team ... The management group that selected the roster for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team includes David Poile (Nashville Predators), general manager, Ray Shero (Pittsburgh Penguins), associate general manager, Brian Burke (Calgary Flames), director of player personnel and Jim Johannson (USA Hockey). In addition, Stan Bowman (Chicago Blackhawks), Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia Flyers), Dean Lombardi (L.A. Kings), Dale Tallon (Florida Panthers) and Don Waddell (Pittsburgh Penguins), all part of the U.S. Men's National Team Advisory Group, were involved in the process from start to finish ... Dan Bylsma, head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is the head coach of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team, with Peter Laviolette, Todd Richards, head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Tony Granato, assistant coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, serving as assistant coaches ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Gavin Regan, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. National Teams.
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.