Cup victor Kelly named to Canada men's team for 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Cup victor Kelly named to Canada men's team for 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

The gold medal game for men's hockey at this year's Olympics will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25. That experience playing with the team was key in the evaluation process, according to USA Hockey Assistant Executive Director of Hockey Jim Johannson. On Wednesday, TSN's Darren Dreger reported that he turned down an invitation, likely because he preferred to play NCAA rather than potentially be the No. 7 or No. 8 defenseman. So he's a great story, if not one of the world's great players.

The team was announced by Hockey Canada Thursday morning in Calgary, and there will be some Saskatchewan content on the squad. With the NHL refusing to release its players for these Games, the Team Canada roster is made up of 25 players from seven different leagues across North America and Europe. They'll then fly to Korea where they'll face Sweden in a warm-up game before playing their first Olympic test in PyeongChang against Switzerland Feb. 15 at 5 a.m. MT. "It's about guys that have received a "No" but found a way to make a 'Yes, '" said head coach Willie Desjardins.

St. John's native Teddy Purcell who now plays in the Russian-based KHL did not make the cut.

US captain Brian Gionta is the only member of the team with Olympic experience, scoring four goals at the Olympic Winter Games Torino 2006.

"Basically, we told the guys, 'Just go play hockey, '" said Johansson, who is attending the 10-nation tournament, which runs through Friday and being held in Buffalo. He also played for the United States at the Deutschland Cup in 2009 and 2017.

Derek Roy played 738 National Hockey League games for Buffalo, Dallas, Vancouver, St. Louis, Nashville and Edmonton with 189 goals and 335 assists. Rene Bourque, 36, brings 725 NHL games, even if he has spent this season in the Swedish league.

Canadian forward Wojtek Wolski (right) pursues Russian forward Sergey Kalinin at the Channel One Cup in Moscow on December 16, 2017.

Also, forwards Gilbert Brule, Mason Raymond, and Wojtek Wolski and goaltender Ben Scrivens are former National Hockey League veterans on the team.

The 12-nation men's hockey tournament at the 2018 Games goes from February 14-25 at the Gangneung Hockey Centre and the Kwandong Hockey Centre.

Hockey Canada vice-president Scott Salmond said the team selection process had lasted 14 months, involving seven tournaments and more than 100 players.

Hard-core Blackhawks fans will recognize some of the names listed Thursday, however, as Team Canada will feature at least three former - if not obscure - Hawks.

Gracenote has been increasingly bullish on Canada's medal prospects in Pyeongchang, predicting 29 a year ago and upping that to 31 in November. "We've seen all our players", said Burke.

All three played for Team USA at November's Deutschland Cup in Germany, the lone pre-Olympic tournament for the US men's national team. She helped the USA win the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship and the 2017 Four Nations Cup. The team won 22 with four gold, three silver and 13 bronze.

Wolski, who thought his hockey career was over a year ago due to a neck injury, played in 451 games for five teams.