The U.S. had its first practice at Gangneung Hockey Centre today at 11 a.m. It was an upbeat and fast-paced 75-minute session that included all but three of Team USA’s 25-player roster. Captain Brian Gionta, along with Bobby Sanguinetti and Chris Bourque had delayed flights and made it to the arena just as practiced ended. Mike Evanoff, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, stopped by the U.S. practice and made some brief welcome remarks to the team.
Outside of practice, the activities at the rink for the players and staff included a media briefing; a medical overview; a security review; and several media interviews. Head Coach Tony Granato also spoke passionately to the team about the impact of general manager Jim Johannson, who passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 21, 2018, in his sleep at his home in Colorado Springs. The Team USA lockerroom includes multiple rememberances of Johannson, including a locker stall with his jersey. The U.S. practice jerseys also include a patch on the inside of the neck with the number 24, which is the number Johannson wore in his first Olympics as a player in 1988.
The team met up with members of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team after practice and USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher, women’s head coach Robb Stauber, men’s head coach Tony Granato, women’s captain Meghan Duggan, men’s captain Brian Gionta, and four-time Olympian and men’s assistant coach Chris Chelios all made a few remarks.
The day concluded in style with the team marching in the opening ceremony. Prior to departing, the men’s and women’s team gathered for a photo by the Olympic rings in the Athlete’s Village.
The U.S. will be back at it tomorrow afternoon with a 4 p.m. practice.