December 17, 2009

New England flavor on Olympic team

Staff Report

Kacey Bellamy (photo: Getty)

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Ten players with New England ties were among the 21 players named to the 2010 U.S. Olympic women's hockey team, the roster for which was announced today at the Mall of America.

Six Olympic veterans are on the squad, including former Harvard star Angela Ruggiero. She and Jenny Potter will both be playing in their fourth Games in Vancouver.

The U.S. team, which includes three goaltenders, six defensemen and 12 forwards, will continue competing in the Qwest Tour until departing for the Olympics on Feb. 7. The opening ceremonies are slated for Feb. 12, with Team USA's first game taking place on Feb. 14 against China.

The team was selected from the 23 players who made up the 2009-10 U.S. women's national team.

"It's an exciting day for a lot of reasons," said Mark Johnson, head coach for Team USA. "It was an extremely tough decision, but now we can move forward and continue preparing ourselves. We feel good about the process, which gave everyone an opportunity. We're excited by the youthfulness of our team, as well as comfortable with the veterans and the leadership they will provide."

The additional players with Olympic experience on the U.S. roster include two-time Olympian Julie Chu (Fairfield, Conn.), and defenseman Caitlin Cahow (Branford, Conn.), who played in the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy.

Wisconsin standout Hilary Knight (Hanover, N.H.) is the youngest U.S. player at 20-years-old, thus marking the first time that a U.S. Olympic women’s team will not include a teenager. Knight currently leads the U.S. national team with 21 points (9-12) in 16 games.

Other New Englanders headed to Vancouver are goalie Molly Schaus (Natick, Mass.); defenseman Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.); and forwards Meghan Duggan (Danvers, Mass.), Erika Lawler (Fitchburg, Mass.), Kelli Stack of Boston College and Karen Thatcher, who played at Providence College.

Dave Flint of Northeastern and Jodi McKenna of Wesleyan are assisting Johnson behind the bench.