Meet the Hockey Players Representing the North Star State at the Olympics
Minnesota has a long history of representing Team USA in the Winter Olympics. After all, the state has a wide variety of winter sports to offer. This year, 22 of the 244 athletes on Team USA are from Minnesota, and 9 of them—eight on the women’s team and one on the men’s—played hockey for University of Minnesota schools.
Hailing from Andover, MN, 20-year-old Maddie Rooney is the youngest to compete from Minnesota. The first-time Olympian made her international debut at the world championships last March after a solid season with the University of Minnesota Duluth hockey team. She has since become the top goalie for Team USA.
Originally from Plymouth, MN, 22-year-old Kelly Pannek’s college career at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities was put on hold after an outstanding 2016-2017 season led to a spot on the U.S. team for last spring’s world championships. There, Pannek was ranked second in the nation in scoring and first in the nation in assists. These accomplishments resulted in a nomination for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award—an award presented to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey annually. This was quite the honor for the one-time Olympian.
Dani Cameranesi, 22, was born and raised in Plymouth, MN. She attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, earning two NCAA titles. Later, she helped the U.S. win the Four Nations Cup. This will be her first Olympic games.
From Minnetonka, MN, 22-year-old Sidney Morin was one of the final additions to the U.S. Olympic Team. The 2017 WCHA defensive hockey player of the year was a three-time state champion at Minnetonka High School before heading to the University of Minnesota Duluth. There, Morin was fifth on UMD’s career chart for most goals by a defenseman and sixth in assists by a defenseman. This will be her first Olympic games.
23-year-old Lee Stecklein is a three-time NCAA champion from Roseville, Minnesota. A student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Stecklein made her Winter Games debut at age 19. A two-time Olympian, Stecklein is known for being the tallest player on the team, standing at six feet.
Hannah Brandt, 24 of Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, was a leading scorer for the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. A one-time Olympian, Brandt finished her Gopher career with 286 points. Since then, Brandt has scored 34 points in 54 games with USA Hockey teams.
26-year-old Amanda Kessel participated in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where she suffered a concussion that nearly ended her career. In 2016, she had a miraculous comeback with the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Gophers that resulted in an NCAA title. This two-time Olympian’s 248 career points are the second highest in Gopher history.
Originating from Warroad, 30-year-old Gigi Marvin is one of the oldest Olympians to compete from Minnesota. The University of Minnesota graduate was a five-time gold medalist at the world championships, as well as the National Women’s Hockey League defensive player of the year in 2015-16. This two-time Olympian has played both forward and defense this season.
Finally, one of the oldest Olympians to compete from Minnesota is former University of Minnesota Gopher hockey captain Ryan Stoa of Bloomington, Minnesota. Since playing for the Gophers, Stoa was selected by Colorado in the second round of the 2005 NHL draft, where he played 40 games in the league as a pro in North America. This one-time Olympian spent the past four seasons in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, where he was an all-star last season.