Minnesota is well known for its rich Olympic hockey history, and we are proud and excited to cheer on all players from across the country who will compete for Team USA next month!
In the spirit of fun, what if the State of Hockey sent its own men’s and women’s teams to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing this February?
Here’s what 23-player rosters might look like. Due to the absence of NHL players, we selected only college players for the men’s team.
Who’d we miss?
Maddie Rooney, Andover — Team USA: UMD’s all-time career saves leader and the 2018 Olympic hero who helped the U.S. capture its first gold medal in 20 years.
Josie Bothun, Wyoming — Penn State: Forest Lake graduate shattered Penn State’s goaltending records as a freshman last season, when she was named USCHO.com National Rookie of the Year.
Calla Frank, Hugo — Minnesota State: Junior netminder for the Minnesota State Mavericks is among the nation’s saves and wins leaders.
Lee Stecklein, Roseville — Team USA: Rock solid veteran defenseman was a huge reason the U.S. won gold in 2018. Stecklein brings poise, stability and strength to Beijing in her third Olympic appearance.
Madison Bizal, Elk River — Ohio State: Bizal is averaging nearly a point per game from the blue line for one of the nation’s top teams.
Grace Bowlby, Edina — Wisconsin: Two-time captain of the defending NCAA national champion Badgers. Bowlby was a First Time All American in 2021.
Emily Brown, Blaine — Minnesota: Two-time captain for the Gophers is a rock solid defender that also contributed offensively.
Sidney Morin, Minnetonka — Team Lugano (Swiss League): The 2018 U.S. Olympic gold medalist has been lighting it up in Europe.
Gracie Ostertag, Shakopee — Minnesota: Veteran blue-liner has found her scoring touch this year, notching three out of her four goals on the power play.
Madeline Wethington, Edina — Minnesota: Smooth and steady defenseman for the Gophers. Three of Wethington’s four goals this season were game-winners.
Hannah Brandt, Vadnais Heights — Team USA: Brandt will be playing in her second Olympics, bringing her speed, grit and IQ to the team. Former Ms. Hockey and four-time Patty Kazmaier Award finalist.
Dani Cameranesi, Plymouth — Team USA: Key contributor to the 2018 Olympic gold medal team, notching 3 goals and 2 assists in 5 games. Former Ms. Hockey and two-time NCAA National Champion.
Kelly Pannek, Plymouth — Team USA: Pannek is another Minnesotan who’s now a fixture on the U.S. Women’s National Team and seeking her second Olympic gold medal. Pannek was a finalist for the Ms. Hockey Award, but actually won the Ms. Soccer Award her senior year of high school.
Grace Zumwinkle, Excelsior — Team USA: Zumwinkle is making her Olympic debut. The former Gopher has a booming shot and is always a threat to score.
Sydney Brodt, North Oaks — Linkoping (Sweden): Brodt was a three-time captain for the UMD Bulldogs during her collegiate career. She’s now registering over a point per game in Sweden and claimed a gold medal with the USWNT at the 2019 Women’s World Championships.
Carly Bullock, Eden Prairie — KMH Budapest (Hungary): After a stellar collegiate career at Princeton, Bullock continued to score goals abroad, first in Sweden and now in Hungary. The Eden Prairie native has been invited to Team USA camps.
Jonna Curtis, Elk River — Minnesota Whitecaps: Consistent point producer and scoring threat for the Minnesota Whitecaps. The forward has averaged 1.2 points per game the past four seasons and is a three-time NWHL/PHF All-Star.
Taylor Heise, Lake City — Minnesota: Former Ms. Hockey is a natural scorer and competitor. Heise loves to shoot the puck and has tallied over 50 goals throughout her collegiate career.
Natalie Heising, Wayzata — Penn State: Two-time captain is among Penn State’s all-time scoring leaders. Heising helped the U.S. U-18 team win two gold medals.
Gabbie Hughes, Lino Lakes — Minnesota Duluth: Hughes is on a tear this season, registering nearly two points per game for the Bulldogs, which is the highest in the nation.
Sadie Peart, Grand Rapids — Quinnipiac: Peart is the top point producer for Quinnipiac, helping the Bobcats make a run for the ECAC title.
Liz Schepers, Mound — Ohio State: Captain from Mound has helped turn Ohio State into one of the nation’s top programs. Schepers is strong on her skates and with the puck, always making her teammates around her better.
Natalie Snodgrass, Eagan — Connecticut: Fast, gritty forward has scored over 64 goals and 61 assists throughout her career with the Huskies. Snodgrass was close to making the U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2021 World Championships last year.
Allie Thunstrom, Maplewood — Minnesota Whitecaps: Former North St. Paul still possesses top-end speed and goal-scoring talent for the Minnesota Whitecaps. Thunstrom is consistently among the top scorers in the Premier Hockey Federation (formerly NWHL).
Zach Driscoll, Apple Valley — North Dakota: Experienced goaltender led the nation in saves last season while backstopping Bemidji State to the NCAA Tournament. Two-time All-WCHA selection.
Ethan Haider, Maple Grove — Clarkson: Haider took over the Clarkson net as a freshman and hasn’t looked back. Sophomore is among the nation’s leaders in saves and minutes.
Jaxson Stauber, Plymouth — Providence: Leads the nation in saves and minutes played. Junior netminder registered 14 wins and 3 shutouts in the first half of this season.
Brock Faber, Maple Grove — Team USA Invitee / Minnesota: Smooth-skating, puck-moving, shutdown defenseman has already been selected to the U.S. Men’s Olympic Team. Faber helped Team USA win gold at the World Juniors last year and he was named an assistant captain on this year’s squad.
Drew Helleson, Farmington — Team USA Invitee / Boston College: Junior defenseman helped Team USA capture gold at the World Juniors last winter. Helleson has been named to the U.S. Olympic Team.
Wyatt Aamodt, Hermantown — Minnesota State: Shutdown defenseman showed scoring prowess this past weekend, netting a hat trick on Friday night against Ferris State. The senior captain is as reliable as they come.
Wyatt Kaiser, Andover — Minnesota Duluth: Kaiser excelled as a true freshman for one of the nation’s top teams. Now a sophomore, he’s showcasing even more poise, passing/playmaking ability, and defensive prowess.
Nick Leivermann, Eden Prairie — Notre Dame: Strong-skating blue-liner not afraid to join the rush. Senior from Eden Prairie breaks the puck out of the defensive zone with ease.
Jack Peart, Grand Rapids — St. Cloud State: The 2021 Mr. Hockey has transitioned smoothly to the Division I level, proving he’s ready for more minutes and responsibility. Smart, mobile and quick defenseman jump starts the rush and creates scoring chances.
Nick Perbix, Elk River — St. Cloud State: Strong, smart defenseman has been a staple on the Huskies’ blue line. Perbix is durable and has been a steady offensive contributor at the Division I level.
Noah Cates, Stillwater — Team USA Invitee / Minnesota Duluth: Bulldogs captain is a skilled, responsible two-way player. Cates has been selected to represent Team USA in Beijing.
Ben Meyers, Delano — Team USA Invitee / Minnesota: Gophers captain among the first selections to Team USA. Meyers doesn’t lose many battles due to his strength, skating and smarts.
Blake Biondi, Hermantown — Minnesota Duluth: Former Mr. Hockey has taken a huge step in his sophomore season with the Bulldogs. Biondi is UMD’s leading goal scorer.
Cade Borchardt, Burnsville — Minnesota State: Borchardt has developed into a key cog on the top-ranked team in the nation. He played just 10 games as a freshman, but now averages just under a point per game as a junior.
Bobby Brink, Minnetonka — Denver: Denver Pioneers junior and 2018 State High School Champion Skipper is registering nearly 1.5 points per game. Brink helped Team USA win gold at the World Juniors last year.
Easton Brodzinski, Blaine — St. Cloud State: Elite shooter and natural goal scorer helped St. Cloud State make a run to the NCAA final last spring.
Brian Halonen, Delano — Michigan Tech: Senior forward at Michigan Tech has been a consistent contributor for the Huskies, but he’s taken another step this season, already setting a career high in points.
Matthew Gleason, St. Paul — Colorado College: Fearless forward with high energy and stick skills. Gleason is a consistent contributor for the young Tigers.
Blake McLaughlin, Grand Rapids — Minnesota: Senior winger boasts high-end stick skills, speed and playmaking ability. Creates a lot of opportunities for teammates.
Micah Miller, Grand Rapids — St. Cloud State: Miller is a strong skater with a high compete level. Senior forward wins a lot of board and 1-on-1 puck battles but can also blow by defenders.
Ryan Sandelin, Hermantown — Minnesota State: Junior forward has already smashed his career highs in goals and points.
Taylor Schneider, Lakeville — Bowling Green: Former State Champion with Lakeville North is one of Bowling Green’s top point producers.
Mark Senden, Wayzata — North Dakota: Senior captain has been a leader at every level. The former High School State Champion for Wayzata is tasked with shutting down opponents’ top lines.
Sammy Walker, Edina — Minnesota: Three-time Gophers captain is a strong skater with a high compete level at both ends of the ice.
Editor's Note: After publishing this article, it was announced Sam Hentges (New Brighton - St. Cloud State) was selected for the Team USA. Hentges missed most of the first half of the season with an injury but racked up four points in his first two games back in the Husky lineup.