Olympic Outlook

by barbaragarn

Team USA

The women just finished their residency program here at the Blaine Superrink (and I didn’t get to any games! argh!) and they’re now in Colorado.

Mark Johnson of Wisconsin is head coach (his team took its third NCAA D1 title last year). He’s a Minneapolis native, raised in Madison, star player from the 1980 “Miracle” team (scored first and game-tying goals for the US). He’s the son of “Badger Bob,” the famed UW men’s coach.

Jodi McKenna of Wesleyan will assist. Team USA will be announced in August, in advance of the Canada Cup in Vancouver this September.

I’m watching Megan Van Beusekom, goalie, Gopher goalie coach–and little sister of one of the primary “informants” from my anthro study way back in 2001, the study that made me realize I needed to play hockey to understand the culture… which of course led to the [url=http://www.ahahockey.com/TCAHA/Beginner.php]AHA Beginner School and then to starting JMS.

Val coached girls high school hockey and told me that her little sister looked up to her. She told me, “Megan said, ‘I want to be as good a hockey player as you some day.’ I told her, ‘Nope, you’re going to be better.'”

The women’s squad has some uphill work to do: they took gold in Nagano in 1998 (women’s hockey Olympic debut), slipped to silver in Salt Lake in ’02 and then slipped again to bronze in Torino in ’06.

The USA men’s team has a camp in Chicago August 17-20. They’re coached by current Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson… picked by someone he knows well: men’s Team USA general manager Brian Burke, who is also the Leafs president and general manager.

The last time the USA men’s team got a medal, it was in 2002, under coach Herb Brooks (silver). And the last time the men medaled before that was… in 1980, with the famous, fabulous “Miracle on Ice.”

Team Canada

Recently announced: Mike Babcock, head coach of the mighty Detroit Red Wings, will coach the Canadian men’s team. He’s joined by Jacques Lemaire. The Canadian men’s camp is in Calgary, August 24-28.

Canadian women will be coached by Melody Davidson, who is aiming for a three-peat. She was head coach in Torino when the team took gold and assistant coach in Salt Lake City for that gold medal. Canada lost to the US at the 09 World Championships (the American’s fourth victory over Canada in five meetings).

Olympics! Olympics! So much wonderful hockey!
Women’s games start February 13; the men begin on the 16th.