Winter Olympics 2018: USA Men's Hockey Roster, Betting Odds For Pyeongchang

Willie Desjardins says coaching in the Olympics is one of his lifelong dreams. He just didn't know it would happen after being let go by the Vancouver Canucks

While Patrick Kane, Auston Matthews, Phil Kessel, Brock Boeser, Ryan McDonagh slog through the winter dog days of an interminable National Hockey League season that breaks for Christmas, bye weeks and All-Star activities, but not the Games.

The Canadian team gathered in Calgary in mid-August and played a challenging series of games against midget AAA boys' teams, going 13-5-4, then beat the US five times in a six-game series leading up to the Olympics. They defeated the United States in five of eight games leading up to the Olympics.

"What a great way to head off", said Greenway. "I've got no regrets". I didn't want to leave home; I was a bit of a homebody. And the 6-foot-5, 230 pound forward was thrust further into the spotlight after winning gold at the World Juniors past year.

But instead of going pro, he chose to stay in school - opening the door for this gentle giant to make history as an amateur athlete.

Even though Team Canada should not be favoured to win gold, they should be definite contenders for an Olympic medal. Carpenter was the Patty Kazmaier Award victor as the best NCAA college women's hockey player in 2015 and has been a scoring force for the national team.

Three decades later, Jordan Greenway is part of the 0.008 percent of current college players who identify as African American.

The players also took a hard look at their situation with USA Hockey.

Hockey was everywhere in the upstate NY town of Canton where he grew up - not far from the Canadian border. And although the two fierce rivals are still the superpowers of women's hockey, other countries are closing the gap.

Greenway and his younger brother JD were both standouts on the ice and very competitive.

The team includes 17 who play in Europe, four NCAA skaters, three who are under American Hockey League contracts and an unsigned captain nearing the end of his career.

JD - who has been a big influence on Greenway's life - grew up to be a powerhouse on the ice like his brother.

North Bellmore's Matt Gilroy, Boston University Class of 2009, pretty much has been around the hockey world.

The Greenway brothers are helping to change the face of hockey. I think it's just going to go based on Tony's knowledge and the coaches that are involved.

Sullivan taught her sons to be open-minded and to not see stereotypes.

"The one thing I've been real impressed with is the NHLers, now that it's getting closer, how supportive they are and how excited they are to watch this", Burke said.

"You want the other color, for sure".

"It's no secret that there's not as many African-Americans playing hockey", Greenway said. "But I knew if I was going to accomplish this dream, I would have to do that elsewhere". "It's just something that you would never think of".

Team Canada has announced that former NHLer and Stanley Cup champion Chris Kelly of the Belleville Senators will wear the captain's "C" when the squad hits the ice for the 2018 Winter Olympic hockey tournament in Pyeongchang, South Korea. "But it's a deserving honor". During the Olympics, however, coach Mike Babcock didn't offer Marchand one second of power play time.

"My advice to him is going to be, do your best".

The Unified team won gold in 1992 but since the introduction of National Hockey League players at the Nagano Games in 1998 Russian Federation have won only two medals - a silver in 1998 and bronze in 2002. "You've got to try to get whatever edge you can". "The talk that we have amongst each other is not for show or anything, we genuinely support each other", he said.

It's not just the time zone difference that accounts for the lack of interest in hockey.

Tony Granato understands that many hockey fans will be disappointed that NHL players will not be taking part in these Olympics, but says these games in South Korea will be wide open, adding this U.S. team has a chance to leave their own mark in Olympic lure.

The same goes for the team as a whole, which has also brought in motivational speakers and held one bonding event each day, trying to ensure a group of players who have received an unexpected opportunity to play in the Olympics makes the most of it.

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