Team USA’s journey to the Winter Olympics in Sochi begins in Arlington on Monday morning.
Kettler Iceplex hosts the two-day men’s national team orientation camp, though none of the 48 invited players, including Capitals’ defenseman John Carlson, will participate in a practice.
Instead, the camp is designed to provide information to the players – team systems, expectations, Olympic drug-testing procedures, among other details. Only 25 players will make the final roster in early December, though the pool of players isn’t necessarily limited to the orientation camp roster. Playing well during the NHL season counts, too.
Area hockey fans can still see stars like Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel, Carlson and many others. Carlson, of course, helped the United States win the under-20 World Junior gold medal in 2010 with an overtime goal in the final.
Ticket holders for Tuesday’s public day can check in as early as 7 a.m. The cost is $40 for adults and $30 for children under age 14. Players will have pre-assigned autograph sessions from 9 a.m. until 11:15 and will participate in an open skate.
There will be a Wounded Warrior sled hockey game from 10 to 11 a.m. and an on-ice program at 11:30. NHL Network host Kathryn Tappen will introduce the players and unveil the Olympic jerseys.
Insurance costs are prohibitive so the team can’t have a traditional practice under a coaching staff led by Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. The United States earned the silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The 2014 Olympic hockey tournament is set for Sochi from Feb. 12 to 23.