Gionta, Bourque to lead Olympic Team USA in men's ice hockey
Los Angeles (AFP)
Former New Jersey Devil forward Brian Gionta will lead a group of journeymen players who will compete for the USA in the 2018 Winter Olympic men's hockey tournament next month.
Gionta, who competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics, was named captain of the American team for the Pyeongchang Winter Games, which will be the first without players from the National Hockey League since 1994.
Team USA, which will be coached by former NHL player Tony Granato, was officially named on Monday.
Gionta, who will serve as captain, and former Pittsburgh Penguin Chris Bourque lead a rag-tag group made up of former NHL players, joined by some from the American Hockey League, European professional leagues and US college teams.
Beyond Gionta and Bourque, the other NHL alumni on the Team USA roster are Mark Arcobello, Matt Gilroy, Jim Slater, James Wisniewski and Bobby Sanguinetti.
The only goaltender named Monday is Ryan Zapolski, who plays in Europe's Kontinental Hockey League. Zapolski played junior hockey in the North American Hockey League for the Mahoning Valley Phantoms.
The NHL announced last year that it would not suspend its season to accommodate the Olympics, effectively blocking the league's top international stars from playing in South Korea.
Team USA play their first game against Slovenia on February 14.
© 2018 AFP