Overview

While hearts will be heavy for the U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team, with the unexpected passing of general manager Jim Johannson on Jan. 21, 2018, in the early morning hours at his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Team USA will no doubt be focused on bringing home the first gold medal in men's ice hockey to the United States for the first time since 1980.

Johannson, director of player personnel Ben Smith, and the U.S. coaching staff led by head coach Tony Granato, built a team that includes 17 players competing professionally in Europe; three players from the AHL; four from NCAA Division I men's ice hockey; and captain Brian Gionta, who has been training with the AHL's Rochester Americans. Gionta, a Rochester, N.Y., native, played one game on a PTO on Feb. 2, 2018, with the Americans, and scored a goal to which the crowd erupted in chants of USA, USA

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

U.S. players arrive in South Korea Feb. 7-8 and the team's first practice is set for Feb. 9 at Gangneung Hockey Centre at 11 a.m. local time. Team USA's first game is Feb. 14 against Slovenia at 9:10 p.m.

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. 9 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. 
  • On August 4, 2017, USA Hockey announced former University of Wisconsin teammates Jim Johannson and Tony Granato would be 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. Unfortunately, Johannson, at age 53, unexpectedly passed away in his sleep in the early morning hours on Jan. 21, 2018, at his home in Colorado Springs. In addition to his duties as GM of the 2018 Olympic Team, Johannson also served full time as USA Hockey assistant executive director for hockey operations. Granato is the 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. 
  • While Brian Gionta (Rochester, N.Y./Boston College), who will serve as team captain, is the only Olympian on the roster (he played in 2006), 23 other players have donned the U.S. sweater in international competition and captured 14 medals.

    Team USA’s forward lineup is highlighted by three of the top point getters in the National League in Switzerland, including Marc Arcobello (Milford, Conn./SC Bern/Yale University), who as of Jan. 1 led the league with 39 points (13-26) in 33 games played. Broc Little (Phoenix, Ariz./HC Davos/Yale University) and Garrett Roe (Vienna, Va./EV Zug/St. Cloud State University) were tied for third with 31 points each. The U.S. offense will also feature the talents of Chris Bourque (Boston, Mass./Hershey/Boston University), who as of Jan. 1 led the AHL with 39 points (11-28) in 34 games played for the Hershey Bears, and Harvard University’s Ryan Donato (Scituate, Mass./Harvard University), who was fourth in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey in points per game (1.45) as of Jan. 1.

    Matt Gilroy (North Bellmore, N.Y./Jokerit/Boston University), who played 225 games in the NHL and won the 2009 Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top player in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey, will anchor the blueline. As of Jan. 1, he was tied for sixth in points among defenseman in the Kontinental Hockey League with 25 (6-19) in 44 games with Jokerit. The U.S. will also rely on the talents of Ryan Gunderson (Bensalem, Pa./Brynas IF/University of Vermont), who led all Swedish Hockey League defensemen on Jan. 1 with 25 points (4-21) in 31 games played and James Wisniewski (Canton, Mich./Kassel), who on Jan. 1 topped all blueliners in the DEL2 with 36 points playing for Kassel. Wisniewski, who has 552 regular-season NHL games on his resume, helped the U.S. win its first-ever gold medal in the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2004.

    In goal, Team USA will rely on the talents of Ryan Zapolski (Erie, Pa./Jokerit/Mercyhurst University), who is one of three players from Jokerit named to Team USA. Zapolski was fifth in the KHL on Jan. 1 with a 1.68 goals against average and owned a 21-8-3 record and .935 save percentage. David Leggio (Williamsville, N.Y./EHC Munchen/Clarkson University) and Brandon Maxwell (Winter Park, Fla./BK Mlada Boleslav) complete Team USA’s goaltending trio.