US Olympic Hockey Team 2022: Top Players, Uniforms and Latest Comments

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 27, 2022

RIGA, LATVIA - MAY 22: Matty Beniers  #10 of  the United States  during the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship group stage game between Finland and United States at Arena Riga on May 22, 2021 in Riga, Latvia. (Photo by EyesWideOpen/Getty Images)
EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

If Team USA is going to win its first gold medal in men's ice hockey since 1980 at the 2022 Winter Olympics, a squad of mostly youngsters will need to prevail. That's because, for the second straight Winter Games, there won't be any NHL players participating in Olympic competition.

In recent months, the NHL was hit hard by postponements because of COVID-19 issues, and the league needed to utilize what would have been the Olympic break in February to make up regular-season games. For the U.S. national team, that means it will be relying on players who have yet to reach the NHL or who are no longer in the league.

At the 2018 Winter Olympics, Team USA lost in the quarterfinals in PyeongChang, falling short of winning a medal. The Americans will look for better results at the 2022 Games, which are set to take place from Feb. 2-20 in Beijing.

The U.S. hasn't medaled at the Olympics since winning the silver in 2010. And if that's going to change this year, the American team will need to take down some tough competition.

Here's everything you need to know about this year's U.S. men's ice hockey national team ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics.


Team USA Roster

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The Team USA men's Olympic hockey roster has been revealed 🏒🇺🇸 https://t.co/esngZAA5Eg


Team USA Uniforms

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Team USA's roster is composed of 15 college players, eight players based in Europe and two AHL players. According to Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. team's average age of 25.1 is the youngest it has sent to the Olympics since the 1994 squad (average age of 22.4).

Although the U.S. team may be young and inexperienced, its roster is filled with potential. And Team USA tried to assemble a group of players that could have success at the Winter Games.

"We know that these players all have speed, tenacity and aggressiveness, which is going to be the style of play that we built this team around," Olympic team general manager John Vanbiesbrouck said, per Elliott.

One of the top American players to watch will be center Matty Beniers, a 19-year-old who will be the youngest player on Team USA. The University of Michigan standout was selected by the Seattle Kraken with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft.

Beniers is having a strong sophomore season at Michigan, as he has tallied 15 goals and 17 assists in 26 games. He's building off his 2020-21 freshman campaign, after which he was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.

At the Olympics, Beniers will be joined by one of his Wolverines teammates—fellow sophomore center Brendan Brisson. The 20-year-old Brisson was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights with the No. 29 overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, and he's tallied 16 goals and 15 assists in 27 games for Michigan this season.

Like Brisson, Jake Sanderson was also taken during the first round of the 2020 NHL draft. The University of North Dakota defenseman was selected by the Ottawa Senators at No. 5 overall, and the 19-year-old should be a key player for Team USA's defense at the Olympics.

There's only one player returning from the 2018 U.S. Olympic team, and that's 33-year-old forward Brian O'Neill. At the last Winter Games, he had one goal and three assists in five games. O'Neill has played in the KHL since 2016, and he has 22 games of NHL experience.

David Quinn, who was the head coach of the NHL's New York Rangers from 2018-21, will be serving as Team USA's coach at the Winter Olympics. And he recently discussed how the Americans formed their roster for the upcoming Games.

"It's kind of like putting a band together," Quinn said, per Elliott. "You don't pick five lead singers when you're putting a band together. You're trying to put a team together, and that certainly was our mindset when we were going through this process."

Will the U.S. team be successful in its efforts to take down Olympic favorites such as the Russian Olympic Committee, Finland, Sweden, Canada and more? The Americans have some young, talented players on their roster, so perhaps they could make a surprise run to a medal next month.