The Heroes of the 2018 US Ice Hockey Team

The members of the US Men’s Ice Hockey team may not have fared as well in Pyeongchang as their female counterparts. However, in the aftermath of the Winter Olympics, heroes have emerged from both camps, each one likely to be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come. Here are a few of the names to watch out for.

Ryan Donato

When putting together his Olympic team, men’s coach Tony Granato chose to pick four players who were still at college, rather than choosing from the ranks of the minor league and Europe-based professionals that normally make up the numbers.

It turned out to be an inspired choice with one such pick, Ryan Donato, emerging as a key player throughout the whole event, despite continuing his studies for his course at Harvard throughout the event. For Donato, whose father Ted formerly played in the N.H.L. and was a member of the United States national team, the game seems to run in his blood.

One of the fastest players on the ice, Donato scored five goals during the tournament overall and, in particular, struck the winning shot in the game against Slovakia.

Ryan Zapolski

While players such as Donato have found themselves in the spotlight in the aftermath of the Olympic games, Ryan Zapolski is content to remain in the shadows. As the main goaltender for the US team, he is quite literally the man in the mask.

However, his lack of a high-profile public persona did not stop him becoming one of the best goalies in the Kontinental Hockey League in the run-up to the games. It was clear that if the men’s team were to have a chance of progressing in the tournament, it would be as much down to Zapolski’s ability to stop goals as it would be the ability of other team members to score them.

Such was the case: during the crucial game with Slovakia, Zapolski made an impressive 22 saves, ensuring his team could hold onto their lead.

Maddie Rooney

A self-confessed “wimp” who fears both the snakes and the dark, goaltender Maddie Rooney, a relative newcomer to the national team, proved her worth by remaining cool under immense pressure during the final game against the formidable Canadians.

In a fast and furious game like ice hockey, timing is everything and even more so in the age of digital timekeeping. With whistles now connected to the game clock so that it stops the moment the referee blows it, the players know that every second counts. Racing against the timer, Rooney knew she couldn’t let her teammates down.

Digging extra deep, Rooney stopped all seven shots at goal, forcing the game to go to a six-round shootout. Rooney then prevented four of the six shots from hitting their target, including one from four-time Olympian Meghan Agosta, giving the U.S. team a 3-2 victory that ended a 20-year medal drought.


Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson

The nifty deke feint that Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson employed against Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados is one that she has practiced thousands of times, usually around tires set out on open ice. The sequence of moves is so specific, she has even given it a name: “Oops, I did it again.”

While Lamoureux-Davidson claims to have butchered the move countless times during practice, it worked perfectly when it counted, creating the winning goal that gave the US Team the gold medal.

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