Thirteen Massachusetts Residents Made the U.S. Olympic Roster
The Bay State will be strongly represented in both the men's and women's hockey tournaments.
If the U.S. hockey team makes another run at a “miracle on ice,” it will be thanks in no small part to some Massachusetts natives.
Five men and three women from the Bay State will lace up for the U.S. teams in Pyeongchang later this month when the 2018 Olympic Games kick off. Only Minnesota is sending more hockey players to South Korea than Massachusetts. 13 Olympians in total call the Bay State home.
Here are the Massachusetts natives to keep an eye on during the Olympic hockey tournament:
- Chris Bourque, a forward from North Reading
- Bobby Butler, a forward from Marlborough
- Ryan Donato, a forward from Scituate
- John McCarthy, a forward from Boston
- Noah Welch, a defender from Brighton
- Kacey Bellamy, a defender from Westfield
- Meghan Duggan, a forward from Danvers
- Kali Flanagan, a defender from Burlington
Last April, the National Hockey League announced it would not alter its regular season schedule to allow time for players to participate in the Olympics. NHL athletes have represented their countries in the last five games, but league owners were reportedly against accommodating the disruption this time around. The lack of NHLers gives unknown faces—including the five men from the Bay State—the chance to take center stage in Pyeongchang. The National Women’s Hockey League, on the other hand, is letting its players participate, and trying to make do without some of its star players.
With talent-heavy teams from Sweden, Canada, and Russia (playing as Olympic Athletes from Russia following the nation’s doping scandal), the U.S. men’s team isn’t expected to be a strong medal contender, according to Sports Illustrated. And after winning the inaugural women’s gold in 1998, the United States—and the rest of the world—has watched Canada mount the medal stand in every Olympic tournament since. The men’s ice hockey team faces its first test in a preliminary match against Slovenia on Valentine’s Day, and the women’s team takes on Finland in its first preliminary game on Sunday.
In addition to the hockey players, Massachusetts natives Jonathan Cheever of Saugus and Mike Trapp of Marstons Mills will compete in snowboarding events; Andover’s Annalisa Drew will go for gold on the freestyle skiing halfpipe; Steven Langton of Melrose will join the four-man bobsled squad; and Hingham’s Alice Merryweather will take on alpine skiing.
Mountainous Colorado, naturally, will be the most-represented state at this year’s games, with 31 hometown favorites. California, Minnesota, New York, and Utah are also sending more athletes than Massachusetts. But New England as a whole will be well represented, with a total of 41 athletes hailing from the region. Notably, Vermont is sending 10 skiers to Pyeongchang.
Here’s how the rest of the region’s athletes break down:
- Connecticut: Eight athletes competing in hockey, skiing, snowboarding, figure skating, and luge
- New Hampshire: Four athletes competing in skiing, ice hockey, and the biathlon
- Maine: Three athletes competing in skiing and the biathlon
- Vermont: 13 athletes competing in skiing, ice hockey, and the biathlon
Gracenote, an Olympic statistics company owned by Nielsen, predicts the U.S. will finish the games with 29 medals, the fourth-most of any competing nation. The data analysts anticipate Germany will take the medal stand 40 times, Norway will bring home 37 prizes, and Canada will notch 33 medal-winning performances.