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.
No one has ever said that officiating, and especially officiating ice hockey, was easy. Rule knowledge, communication skills, fitness, skating and a natural presence are just some of the skills necessary to be a successful official. Some possess more of these skills and those are the officials who advance to higher levels. But regardless of the level achieved or the skill set the official possesses, the one quality that should be equal among every official is a high level of integrity.
The national official staff members, along with our volunteer referees-in-chief and local supervisors, have heard growing concerns over a decreasing level of integrity among our youth hockey officials. It’s sometimes said that no one is holding them accountable. A portion of this perception is likely a typical “blame the officials” mentality, but some anecdotal evidence suggests there is also some merit to this concern. That’s alarming to USA Hockey, as it affects the credibility of our entire program, along with every member it represents. The blunt truth is this: even one official who isn’t on the up and up can and will damage the credibility of all officials who do take pride in the integrity of their work.
Whether we like it or not, officials are under a microscope, and by the nature of the business, are held to a very high standard. When we signed up for this officiating gig, we committed ourselves to represent the game of hockey, USA Hockey, our local group of officials and ourselves as people of integrity who accept the responsibility and guardianship of enforcing the rules in a fair and consistent manner. Most importantly, we must remember that the game is bigger than all of us and that the game itself is what we serve. Those who lose sight of that not only compromise the competitive fairness of the games, they also make life more difficult for all of the officials by damaging the credibility of the officiating community.
An example of this type of unacceptable behavior occurred last season. A Level 2 adult official tended to work his games with a chip on his shoulder. He often created confrontation with coaches, alienated his younger partners with inaccurate advice and disregarded their help in attempting to get some calls and rule applications right. Even though the help they were providing was correct, he chose to maintain his incorrect position that affected the outcome of several games. He also tended to identify certain players and single them out for various infractions and/or on-ice lectures as a means of emphasizing his authority.
Once the trends were identified, concerns were voiced by several parents and coaches to the local assigner and supervisor, who acknowledged they had never seen the official’s work, but would keep throwing him out there working the same teams and levels that had expressed concerns regarding his attitude. This included intentionally assigning him a playoff game involving the coach who was the most vocal in expressing concerns. This official was then instructed to “throw the coach out if he says anything.”
That playoff game went without a hitch – a tight 2-1 game with a couple of close off-side plays and maybe an icing or two missed. In the post-game dressing room, the official in question, in the presence of his partners and the officials scheduled to work the next game, said, “It’s always a great day when you can make one or both of the coaches mad. It’s too bad the white team coach didn’t want to play along today.” The partners sat there in silence until finally a 12-year-old Level 1 official who was working the next game said, “I don’t think that’s right. We’re not supposed to bait coaches.”
The official got dressed quickly and left the room without saying another word. Kind of ironic that it was the innocent 12-year-old that seemed to “get it” and instill a sense of accountability among those in the room. Imagine how any 12-year-old player feels on the ice when they see the official(s) displaying an attitude that is simply not to the standard the game deserves. And yes, more often than not, they can see through those who do not have the level of integrity expected.
Fortunately, these types of officials are few and far between. But they do exist and to simply stick our heads in the sand and not address the concern is irresponsible. Each of us, as officials, has an obligation to behave in a professional manner at all times and take our role seriously. We have made a commitment to approach each game with the understanding that the game is about the players and we should be invisible until the players require us to appear as a result of infractions that occur. Respect is a two-way street and simply putting on the sweater with the USA Hockey crest suggests respect is warranted, but only if supported by your actions.
USA Hockey has an obligation to create a non-threatening environment that promotes respect for officials and an opportunity for officials to improve through education and evaluation. USA Hockey does this through playing rules, points of emphasis, zero tolerance policies and comprehensive education programs for officials, coaches, parents and players.
In return, the game expects USA Hockey officiating members to bring a professional image to every contest and an attitude that creates a positive environment and makes the game better. We realize everyone makes mistakes – it’s part of the game. However, laziness or unprofessional behavior is unacceptable and being creative in rule enforcement and not holding players/coaches accountable for infractions will only make the next team of officials’ jobs much more difficult and set them up for failure.
The reality is that the game official must always hold themselves to the highest level of integrity and behavior both on and off the ice. Maybe that’s fair, or maybe not, but it is the expectation we are required to meet.
As we head into the 2015-16 season, ask yourself if you are willing to meet that expectation. If the answer is yes, welcome back and we look forward to a great season.