Gionta named captain of Team USA hockey


Veteran winger Brian Gionta will serve as captain of the U.S. Olympic hockey team at the Winter Olympics, which will be the first without active NHL players since 1994.

USA Hockey announced its roster Monday at the Winter Classic in New York. It includes college players Troy Terry, Jordan Greenway, Will Borgen and Ryan Donato.

Without the ability to name NHL stars like Patrick Kane, Johnny Gaudreau, Auston Matthews and Jonathan Quick, the U.S. roster is a mix of players from the NCAA ranks, European professional leagues and the American Hockey League.

Gionta, 38, played 15 seasons in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.

AHL star Chris Bourque and a handful of former NHL players now in Europe, including Mark Arcobello, Jim Slater, James Wisniewski and Bobby Sanguinetti, are expected to help Gionta on the leadership front.

Ryan Zapolski, who plays for Jokerit in the Kontinental Hockey League, is the only goaltender on the roster so far, with two more to be added later in January.

The NHL announced in April that it would not participate in the Olympics after sending its players to each Winter Games hockey tournament since 1998. This was because of a financial dispute with the IOC, a lack of interest in Pyeongchang as a hockey market and the league’s inability to leverage collective bargaining concessions from the NHL Players’ Association. As a result, any player with an NHL contract was prohibited from representing their country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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