Jan. 2, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota women's hockey program has seven Golden Gophers representing their home countries in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Team Finland's women's ice hockey roster includes former Gophers Mira Jalosuo and Noora Raty, while Team USA includes Minnesota alumni Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin and Anne Schleper along with current student-athletes Amanda Kessel and Lee Stecklein.
"I'm very excited for all seven of them to have the opportunity to fulfill their life-long dream of representing their country and playing in the Olympics," head coach Brad Frost said. "Obviously it's great for our program and the recognition that it's going to bring. I think it speaks volumes to the types of people and players that we recruit and how we can help develop them into better people and better hockey players as well."
Among the seven Olympians, Raty and Marvin are the only two veterans; the remaining five athletes will make their Olympic debut this February.
Marvin earned silver with Team USA at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C., while Raty will make her third Olympic appearance after competing for Finland in both the 2010 (bronze) and 2006 (fourth place) Olympic Games.
Jalosuo, Raty, Bozek, Kessel and Stecklein helped lead the Gophers to the 2013 national title but will find themselves on opposite ends of the ice come February. Team USA and Team Finland are set to face-off in the first game of the Olympics on Saturday, Feb. 8 at Shayba Arena.
"I've gotten to know them as people, obviously, and first and foremost, they're fantastic that way," Frost said. "It makes you kind of like a proud father to look and see them excelling and having success and reaching their ultimate dreams.
"Hopefully they all just play really well, nobody gets hurt and they have a great time."
Opening round games are scheduled for Feb. 8-13 followed by the quarterfinals on Saturday, Feb. 15 and the semifinals on Monday, Feb. 17. The gold and bronze medal games are set for Thursday, Feb. 20.
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