Olympic News 18 Feb 14

 Despite the dominance of the U.S. and Canada in the sport, women’s hockey is getting a boost from officials.  International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel says the sport will “never” be taken out of the Olympics.  Since entering the Games in 1998, Canada has won three gold medals while the USA has one.  The two teams will play on Thursday for the Gold Medal in Sochi, Russia.  Team USA has five current or former Gophers on the roster, including Minnesotans Gigi Marvin of Warroad, Lee Stecklein of Roseville, and Anne Schleper (Annie SHLEPP-er) of St. Cloud.  Team Canada has three players who once played at Minnesota-Duluth, including Jocelyne Larocque, Carolina Ouellette, and Haley Irwin.

 U.S. Men Turn Attention To Qualifiers

The U.S. men’s hockey team will have eyes focused on today’s qualifying game between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which begins at 11 a.m.  The winner of that contest will face Team USA in the quarterfinals tomorrow.  Team USA has ten players with Minnesota connections, including the team captain Zach Parise, who is from Minneapolis and plays for the Minnesota Wild.

 Russia, USA Have Medals Lead

Host nation Russia and the U.S. share the lead atop the medals table in Sochi, each having won 19 so far.  The Netherlands is next with 17 medals while Canada owns 16 to this point.  Germany owns the most gold medals with eight.