Overview

As the countdown to the men’s ice hockey competition for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games continues, excitement is building as U.S. general manager Jim Johannson, director of player personnel Ben Smith, and a coaching staff led by Tony Granato, are entrenched in evaluating players and building a roster all fully expect to compete for a medal in Pyeonchang.

While NHL players, who have exclusively made up the U.S. roster since the 1998 Games, will not be utilized in 2018, that hasn’t dampened the optimism of the U.S. management and coaching staff.

“The depth of our talent pool in the U.S. is as great as it has even been,” said Johannson, “and we’ll have an excellent team representing our country.”

Team USA’s roster will be comprised of players currently on college rosters, those with AHL only contracts and Americans playing professionally in Europe.

Storylines

  • For the first time since the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, the rosters of teams competing in men’s ice hockey will not be populated by NHL players. For Team USA, its final Olympic roster in 2018 will be made up of players on U.S. college rosters; those with AHL only contracts and also Americans playing hockey professionally in Europe. 
  • Team USA will gather as a group for the very first time on Feb. 10 in South Korea. At no time prior will the final U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team be together in preparation for the Games. It should be noted that this way forward is nothing different than what has been done since the 1998 Olympic Winter Games. 
  • Former University of Wisconsin teammates Jim Johannson and Tony Granato are reunited in helping guide Team USA’s Olympic fortunes in 2018 – Johannson as general manager and Granato as head coach. The two played together at UW for three seasons in the mid-1980s (1983-86) and were also both players on the 1988 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. Johannson is currently USA Hockey’s assistant executive director of hockey operations while Granato serves as head men’s ice hockey coach at the University of Wisconsin. 
  • Team USA is looking for its first gold medal in men’s ice hockey since 1980. The U.S. has finished in the top four in three of the last four Olympic Winter Games, highlighted by a pair of silver medals in 2002 and 2010. It marks a stretch of success that hasn’t been matched since the 1960 U.S. team’s gold-medal performance capped four straight Olympics with a medal.