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Hockey Sends Six Players to 2018 Winter Olympics

02 January 2018

Prior to his NHL and worldwide playing days, Gionta posted four 50-point seasons and won the 2000-01 national championship at BC, in addition to serving as a team captain during his senior season.

There could have been 10 from UW in the Olympics, but forward Annie Pankowski, who has one year of collegiate eligibility remaining, was cut from the US team in December.

Tony Granato, who played in the 1988 Olympics and coaches at Wisconsin, will be behind the bench in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as the USA seeks its first Olympic gold medal since the 1980 "Miracle On Ice" team.

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The U.S. Women's Olympic Team has participated in every Winter Olympic Games since the first-ever women's ice hockey tournament in 1998. The initial USA roster includes the admittedly "semi-retired" Gionta, three players from the AHL in Bourque, Bobby Butler and John McCarthy, five from Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, five from Switzerland's National League A, three from the Swedish Hockey League and two from multiple levels of Germany's Deutsche Eishockey Liga. That is the good thing about the depth of USA Hockey now.

On Dec. 22, Canada named five former Badgers women's hockey players to its Olympic team: forwards Emily Clark, Sarah Nurse and Blayre Turnbull; defenseman Meaghan Mikkelson; and goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens. Granato said after the pre-Olympic Deutschland Cup that Zapolski had the tools to be the Americans' starting goalie even though it was too early to name him as such. They must all choose among players in domestic or foreign leagues other than the NHL, and NCAA players.

The 2018 team features numerous players who went to the Deutschland Cup in Germany in October in what amounted to both a trial and their only warm-up games ahead of Pyeongchang.

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Borgen is now a junior defenseman at St. Cloud State. "(We have) some younger, college guys, which I'm sure will bring a lot of skill and energy, then proven AHL players that can produce, as well.

Gionta will be team captain for the Americans after ending his National Hockey League career at the end of last season. In April the league announced it would not break the 2017-2018 season to allow players to represent their countries in PyeongChang. The big one is the Olympics. "I would love to end my career with something like that".

The Winter Olympics will take place from February 9-25.

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Hockey Sends Six Players to 2018 Winter Olympics