July 22, 2013
MADISON, Wis. –- Among the 48 players invited to the U.S. Men’s National Team Orientation Camp, six former members of the Wisconsin men’s hockey team have their sights set on the 2014 Olympic Winter games, which are set for Feb. 7-23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
The camp, which is designed to assist in preparations for the upcoming Olympics, runs Aug. 26-27, at Kettler Capitals IcePlex in Arlington, Va.
Among the former Badgers vying for a spot, both defenseman Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis.) and forward Joe Pavelski (Plover, Wis.) look to make their second Olympic teams after capturing a silver medal in 2010. Defensemen Ryan McDonagh (Arden Hills, Minn.) and Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka, Minn.), as well as forwards Derek Stepan (Hastings, Minn.) and Craig Smith (Madison, Wis.) will aim to make their first Olympic squads.
All six Badgers invited have worn the USA jersey before. In addition to Suter and Pavelski’s Olympic silver medals, Suter won gold at the 2004 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship and has skated at four world championships for Team USA.
Pavelski played for Team USA at the 2009 IIHF World Championship.
Stepan served as captain for the 2010 U.S. World Junior Team and helped Jake Gardiner and the Americans capture gold at the event. Stepan also skated at the 2011 World Championship.
McDonagh skated on the 2009 U.S. World Junior Team, as well as the 2011 U.S. National Team at the world championship.
Finally, Smith is a three-time member and standout of the U.S. national team having competed at the 2011, 2012 and 2013 IIHF World Championship.
At least one Badger has competed in the past 10 Olympic hockey tournaments.
In addition to the athletes, former Badger Jim Johannson helps direct the squad as assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. Head Coach Dan Bylsma and USA Hockey are expected to announce the rest of the coaching staff later this week.
The final Olympic roster will be made up of 25 players, and a player not invited to the camp could still make the team. The camp itself is not expected to include on-ice competition, but is expected to serve as an informational meeting for those invited.