USA Hockey announced the final roster for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on Thursday, and recognizable names are few and far between. No NHL players made the team because the league, in an attempt to finish the 2021-22 season on time, opted out of the Games on Dec. 22.
The NHL made the decision while numerous teams dealt with significant COVID-19 outbreaks, causing the postponement of 50 games through Dec. 23. NHL players haven't competed in a Winter Olympics since 2014 and won't return to the international stage until at least 2026.
NHL players didn't compete in PyeongChang 2018 because of a scheduling disagreement with the IOC, but they participated in the previous five Games. Team USA won silver medals in Salt Lake City 2002 and Vancouver 2010 with NHL players on its roster.
Team USA hasn't reached the podium without NHL players since 1980, when it defeated the Soviet Union in the famed "Miracle on Ice" game. The massive upset inspired the 2004 movie "Miracle" starring Kurt Russell as U.S. coach Herb Brooks.
With the NHL players' absence, Team USA's 2022 hockey roster is the youngest since 1994 and includes teens – five, to be exact – for the first time in 30 years. Boston University's Drew Commesso, 19, is Team USA's youngest goaltender ever.
In total, Team USA will bring 15 current NCAA players, eight European professionals and two AHL players to Beijing. Michigan's Matty Beniers – the No. 2 overall pick to the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Draft – and nine-year NHL veteran Steven Kampfer headline the squad. KHL winger Brian O'Neill is the squad's lone returning Olympian.
"We're excited about the roster we've put together," said John Vanbiesbrouck, general manager of the 2022 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team and assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. "The Olympics are the biggest stage in sports and it was fun to hear the enthusiasm our players have to represent their country. We're fortunate to have a deep talent pool -- thanks in part to all the great work of our volunteers in communities across the nation -- and with the mix of players who are part of our team, we're looking forward to competing for a gold medal in Beijing."
Here's Team USA's complete roster:
Forwards: Nick Abruzzese, Kenny Agostino, Beniers, Brendan Brisson, Noah Cates, Sean Farrell, Sam Hentges, Matthew Knies, Marc McLaughlin, Ben Meyers, Andy Miele, O'Neill, Nick Shore, Nathan Smith
Defensemen: Brian Cooper, Brock Faber, Drew Helleson, Steven Kampfer, Aaron Ness, Nick Perbix, Jake Sanderson, David Warsofsky
Goaltenders: Commesso, Strauss Mann, Pat Nagle
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are slated to begin Feb. 4.