Last night, Bobby Butler recorded the 100th goal of his AHL playing career. Today he has been announced as part of Team USA’s preliminary roster for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
Press Release via USA Hockey:
USA Hockey announced today the rosters for its 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Teams and 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team during the second intermission of the NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field in New York City.
“We’re excited about all three of our teams and the chance to compete for gold,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “There’s no bigger stage than the Olympics and Paralympics and I know our teams will represent our country extremely well in PyeongChang.”
The men’s roster includes 15 players with NHL experience, led by Brian Gionta (Rochester, N.Y.), who will serve as team captain of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. Gionta has played 1,006 regular-season games and captained both the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres in his career. He is the lone player on the U.S. roster with Olympic experience, having played for Team USA in 2006.
“We really like our roster,” said Jim Johannson, general manager of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and also the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. “It’s a group that brings versatility and experience and includes players who have a lot of passion about representing our country.”
The U.S. has won 11 medals in the Olympic Winter Games, including gold in 1960 and 1980.
The opening game for the U.S. men in the in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games is set for Feb. 14 against Slovenia.
At 30-years of age Butler signed this past off-season with the Milwaukee Admirals to an AHL contract. The native of Marlborough, Massachusetts packs loads of professional experience: 253 games in the AHL, 130 games in the NHL, 50 games in the KHL, and 49 games in the SHL. This season as a member of the Admirals he leads the team in scoring with 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 32 games.
Additional former-Admirals that will be included on Team USA: Jonathon Blum and Ryan Zapolski. Blum has enjoyed a really terrific run since heading to Russian side Admiral Vladivostok. He was quite recently acquired by HC Sochi. Zapolski has been playing abroad ever since the 2012-13 season. He has been in net for Lukko in Finland’s Liiga and most recently with Finnish side Jokerit in Russia’s KHL where he has been phenomenal this season.
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