The University of Minnesota could be well represented at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Last week USA Hockey announced its 41 player roster for their Women’s National Team selection camp that will take place June 16-23 in Lake Placid, N.Y. Nine of those 41 have skated for the Maroon and Gold last year or as an alumnus of the program.
Five of those nine were members of this season’s National Championship squad for the Golden Gophers. The roster for the Olympics wont be officially set until Dec. of this year, but by July we should have a good notion of which Gophers will play for the gold.
The list in alphabetical order includes Megan Bozek (Buffalo Grove, Ill.), Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.), Sarah Erickson (Roseau, Minn.), Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.), Gigi Marvin (Warroad, Minn.), Milica McMillen (St. Paul, Minn.), Anne Schleper (St. Cloud, Minn.), Jen Schoullis (Erie, Pa.), and Lee Stecklein (Roseville, Minn.).
Marvin is the only member of the group to have played in an Olympics before as she won a silver medal with Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Marvin racked up 195 points for the Gophers from 2005-09.
Four of the women are still on the roster for next year as of now, but if selected they would sit out the entire season to skate with Women’s National Team. Brandt, Kessel, McMillen, and Stecklein would be those skaters to miss next season for head coach Brad Frost’s club.
Kessel is a lock to make it to Russia as a part of the team. The reigning Patty Kazmaier Award winner would be a senior this upcoming year and likely become the school’s all-time scoring leader. She is just 16 points shy of setting that career points mark at 247 points.
She recently was in Los Angeles , Cali. for a NBC promotional photo shoot for their upcoming broadcast coverage of the Olympics.
What is Amanda Kessel doing in LA today? Stay tuned for more… twitter.com/usahockey/stat…
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) April 27, 2013
Word is that she has already told coach Frost that she will return for her senior season after her Olympic hiatus.
The other three active skaters would all be sophomores next year. To be honest all nine Gophers could make the team. It likely will not happen, but a case could be made for each to be on the team.
It will all come down to how USA Hockey is going to build the team to compete against reigning gold medalists from Canada and the rest of the tournament field.
Other non-American Gophers from this year’s team that have a chance to skate against Team USA in the Olympics are Finnish natives Noora Raty and Mira Jalosuo as well as Canadians Sarah Davis, Baylee Gillanders, and Kelly Terry.
The Canadians all have eligibility remaining, the Finns both graduate this year from Minnesota.
There will be a lot of pressure on the program to continue to build on their 49 game winning streak next fall and push for a third straight National Championship. It will be exciting to see how next year’s team with so many players gone to graduation or the Olympics compete.
It should be just as exciting to see a large group of Golden Gophers playing on the world stage in Russia for the Olympics in Feb. 2014. A gold medal would nice addition to the trophy case for any of the Olympians. Especially next to the National Championship trophies that some of them have won the last two years.
A pretty good three year run for the University of Minnesota women’s hockey program.