May 18, 2017 06:08 PM
With the potential for a dozen current, future and former players to play in the upcoming Winter Olympics, Gopher women's hockey coach Brad Frost has reason for extreme pride. However, it also leaves his program shorthanded for the upcoming season.
Click the video box on this page to watch KSTP Sports' interview with Gopher women's hockey coach Brad Frost about the pride and challenge of losing players next season to their respective Olympic teams
Kelly Pannek (Plymouth / Benilde-St. Margaret's) was the Gophers' leading scorer as a junior last season and sophomore Sarah Potomak was second. Both of them will likely miss next season to play on their respective Olympic teams - Pannek with the United States, Potomak with Canada.
Potomak's younger sister Amy, who is regarded as the top college prospect in North America, will also likely miss what would have been her freshman year at the U to play for Team Canada in the Winter Games in Korea.
While the United States roster is essentially set, the Canadian players will trim it's initial roster by a few players ahead of the Games. However, both Potomak sisters are expected to be on the final roster.
There could be a few more Gopher Olympians as other countries - Finland, notably- announce their rosters.
Players do not lose a year of eligibility when they are selected for Olympic teams, so all the Gophers will come back to school with their remaining eligibility completely intact.
Both the Canadian and American teams will begin full-team training ahead of the Olympic Games, which requires college players to take a full season off.
The U.S. Team will gather for camp starting in September in Tampa while Canada will hold their pre-Olympic camp in Calgary.
The trio joins a long list of former Gophers who are also on Olympic teams.
Recent graduates Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth / Blake) and Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights / Hill-Murray) will make their Olympic debuts for the U.S. in Korea.
Amanda Kessel (Madison, WI), Gigi Marvin (Warroad), Megan Bozek (Buffalo Grove, IL) and Lee Stecklein (Roseville) were all part of the USA team that took silver at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
Cameranesi and Stecklein were seniors at the U this past season, meaning the Gophers will have to replace them along with Pannek, the Potomaks and 2017 grads Kate Schipper and Megan Wolfe next season. Those six were the Gophers top six scorers last season - combining for 80 goals and 144 assists.
Minnesota-Duluth standout Maddie Rooney (Andover) is also on the U.S. team, as well as one-time Gophers Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, who transferred from the U to North Dakota.
Updated: May 18, 2017 06:08 PM
Created: May 18, 2017 05:55 PM
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