After winning Olympic women's hockey gold in 2018, Team USA is nearing the final push toward the 2022 games in Beijing, with a Who's Who? list of Minnesota natives in the mix, including Maddie Rooney, Hannah Brandt, Lee Stecklein and Kelly Pannek.
USA Hockey on Friday announced the 27 players who will train together in residency at the Super Rink in Blaine beginning in October. Twenty-five of those players will head to the women's world championships next month in Calgary, and 23 will make the Olympic roster, finalized by early January.
"We're excited to return to Blaine," Katie Million, USA Hockey's director of women's national team programs, said in the news release. "The Super Rink will be a great home for our players and staff as we train for the upcoming Olympics."
2018 Olympic returnees
Of the 27 players on the residency roster, 14 were on the 2018 team that brought the U.S. its first Olympic women's hockey gold medal since 1998. That list:
Cayla Barnes (Eastvale, Calif.), Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights), Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth), Alex Cavallini (Delafield, Wis.), Kendall Coyne Schofield (Palos Heights, Ill.), Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.), Kali Flanagan (Hudson, N.H.), Nicole Hensley (Lakewood, Colo.), Megan Keller (Farmington, Mich.), Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.), Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho), Kelly Pannek (Plymouth), Maddie Rooney (Andover) and Lee Stecklein (Roseville).
Two seeking Olympic returns
Former Gophers standout Megan Bozek (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) and 2015 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) were on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team but did not make the 2018 squad. They'll be in Blaine competing for spots again this time.
Eleven seeking Olympic debuts
Then you have the hungry group looking to make their first-ever Olympic team:
Caroline Harvey (Salem, N.H.), Savannah Harmon (Downers Grove, Ill.), Jincy Dunne (O'Fallon, Mo.), Natalie Buchbinder (Fairport, N.Y.), Abby Roque (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), Grace Zumwinkle (Excelsior), Hayley Scamurra (Getzville, N.Y.), Jesse Compher (Northbrook, Ill.), Britta Curl (Bismarck, N.D.), Lacey Eden (Annapolis, Md.) and Abbey Murphy (Evergreen Park, Ill.).
St. Thomas women's hockey coach Joel Johnson is the interim coach for the U.S. team. USA Hockey has yet to name its women's coach for the Olympics. ... There are six Minnesota natives on the 27-player roster, most of any state. Illinois has five, Wisconsin two. ... Past or present Gophers in contention for Olympic spots are Brandt, Bozek, Cameranesi, Kessel, Pannek, Stecklein, Murphy and Zumwinkle.