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2022 Winter Olympics Preview

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We got Gopher connections on three different teams in Beijing

Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics - Previews - Day -2 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing officially kick off with the opening ceremonies early Friday morning here in the US, but action actually begins on the ice in a couple different events as early as Wednesday morning. Thursday morning is when the first even with Minnesota Gophers connections kicks off as the US Women’s Hockey Team that features six Gopher alums and two current Gophers begins their quest to repeat against Finland and a future Gopher. There will be three events and five teams in Beijing that will feature former, current or future Gophers all on the ice. Below is a list of the Olympians with Gopher ties, and a full schedule of their events and how you can watch them. All event times listed below are in CST.

Women’s Hockey:

United States:

Megan Bozek: Bozek is an Illinois native who played for the Gophers from 2009-2013. She recorded 146 points over four seasons of anchoring the Gopher blue line, the most ever for a Gopher defender. She was a two-time All-American and played for Team USA in the 2014 Olympics where she recorded five points scoring one goal, but was left off of the 2018 roster.

Hannah Brandt: Brandt played for the Gophers from 2012-2016 and finished her career as the all-time leading scorer in Gopher history with 286 points and is #1 in assists with 170. The Vadnais Heights native played in the 2018 US team that won Gold where she scored a goal and added an assist.

Dani Cameranesi: Cameranesi played for the Gophers from 2013 through 2017 recording 201 points for her career. The Plymouth native was on the 2018 US roster where she scored three goals and added a pair of assists helping the US to Gold.

Amanda Kessel: Kessel played for the Gophers beginning in 2010 and finishing in 2016 after a break for the 2014 Olympics, and nearly a season off recovering from concussion issues. She returned to the Gophers late in the 2016 season and helped lead them to their 7th NCAA Championship. She is the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Award Winner. A Madison, WI native, Kessel played in both the 2014 and 2018 Olympics for the US scoring three goals and adding three assists in 2014, and recording just one assist in 2018.

Abbey Murphy: The first of two current Gophers on the roster, the Evergreen Park, Illinois native finished her freshman season with the Gophers last year scoring 18 points and 10 goals in 20 games. Murphy will return to the U next season with three years of eligibility remaining after making her Olympics debut.

Kelly Pannek: Pannek played for the Gophers from 2014-2018. The Plymouth native finished her career with 186 points. She played on the 2018 Olympic team and recorded a pair of assists.

Lee Stecklein: Stecklein played for the Gophers from 2012-2017 taking a year off to play in the 2014 Olympics. She finished her Gopher career with 93 points in four seasons and won three NCAA titles with the Gophers. The Roseville native played on both the 2014 and 2018 Olympic teams recording one assist in 2014 and went scoreless in 2018. Stecklein is one of the best defenders in the world and will wear an A for Team USA.

Grace Zumwinkle: Zumwinkle is the other current Gopher on the roster. She played four season with Minnesota from 2017-2021 and still has one year of eligibility remaining thanks to her COVID season. The Excelsior native will be on her first Olympic Roster in 2022, but appears to be a roster mainstay for the long term.

Schedule:

The US will open play on Thursday morning Feb 3rd back here in the US against Finland at 7:10 Central.. Saturday morning they play Russia at 7:10 AM, Sunday morning it’s Switzerland at 7:10 AM, and finally the long awaited game against Canada at 10:10 PM Monday night. Quarterfinals will take place Friday the 11th or Saturday the 12th, with Semifinals Monday the 14th. The Bronze medal game is at 5:30 AM Wednesday the 16th, and the Gold Medal game which is fully expected to be a USA/Canada rematch will face-off at 10:10 PM on February 16th. All hockey games with the exception of the gold medal game will air live on USA Network. The Gold Medal game is set for a live broadcast on NBC. All games can be streamed via NBC Olympics or Peacock as well.

Finland:

Nelli Laitinen: Laitinen will play for Finland at the Olympics prior to enrolling as a freshman at the U next fall. She is the third Gopher Olympian all-time from Finland after Nora Raty and Mira Jalosuo.

Schedule:

Feb 3 7:10 AM vs USA

Feb 4 10:10 PM vs Canada

Feb 7 7:10 AM vs Switzerland

Feb 8 7:10 AM vs Russia

All can be streamed on NBC Olympics or Peacock.

Sweden:

Josefin Bouveng: Bouveng will play for Sweden at the Olympics before joining Laitinen as a Gopher freshman next fall. She is the first ever Swede to play for Minnesota.

Schedule:

Feb 3 2:40 AM vs Japan

Feb 5 2:40 AM vs Czech Republic

Feb 7 7:10 AM vs China

Feb 8 7:10 AM vs Denmark

All can be streamed on NBC Olympics or Peacock.

Men’s Hockey:

United States

Four players with Gopher ties will skate for the USA on the men’s hockey team at the 2022 Olympics:

Brock Faber: Faber is a Gopher sophomore defenseman and a second round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings. He is a good two-way defenseman who in 23 games this season has 11 points and 25 blocked shots. The Maple Grove native was set to be an an assistant captain on the US World Juniors team.

Mathew Knies: Knies has stepped in as a Gopher freshman this season and taken the Big Ten by storm. The second round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been one of the best freshmen in the nation this season and has 24 points in 25 games this season for the Gophers. The Phoenix, Arizona native will take his 6’3 frame and play a large role for the US as a power forward in front of the net.

Ben Meyers: Meyers has been a star for the Gophers in his three years at the U. Meyers leads the Gophers in scoring this season with 25 points in 25 games and leads the Gophers with 10 goals. A sniper on the power play, Meyers is a NHL free agent and is expected to sign a major free agent contract after this season with Minnesota. The Delano native will be making his international debut at the Olympics.

Aaron Ness: Ness played for the Gophers from 2008-2011 recording 43 points in three seasons. Ness signed with the New York Islanders organization after his junior year and has played a majority of his time in the AHL over the past 11 seasons with cups of coffee in the NHL with the Islanders, Washington Capitols, and Arizona Coyotes. The Roseau native will be playing internationally for the first time since a World Juniors roster spot in 2009.

Schedule:

Thursday Feb 10 7:10 AM vs China

Friday Feb 11 10:10 PM vs Canada

Sunday Feb 13 7:10 AM vs Germany

Tues Feb 15—Qualification Playoffs

Wednesday Feb 16—Quarterfinals

Friday Feb 18—Semifinals

Sat Feb 19—Bronze Medal game

Sun Feb 20—Gold Medal Game

All games will air live on USA Network with the exception of the gold medal game which will air on NBC. All games will stream on NBC Olympics and Peacock.

Women’s Curling:

United States

The US women’s curing team has a pair of sisters with a Minnesota Gophers connection as well. Tabatha Peterson the skip of the US Women’s Curling team and her sister Tara the lead area Gopher Alums. The Eagan natives graduated from the U’s School of Pharmacy in Tabatha’s case and the U of M Dental School in Tara’s and will try and help the US bring home some hardware in women’s curling in Beijing.

Schedule:

Wed Feb 9 7:05 PM vs Russia—CNBC/Peacock/NBCOlympics.com

Thurs Feb 10 6:05 AM vs Denmark—Peacock/ NBCOlympics.com

Fri Feb 11 12:05 AM vs China— Peacock/NBCOlympics.com

Sat Feb 12 6:05 AM vs Great Brittan—Peacock/NBCOlympics.com

Sunday Feb 13 12:05 AM vs Sweden— Peacock/NBCOlympics.com

Sunday Feb 13 7:05 PM vs Korea—Peacock/NBCOlympics.com

Tuesday Feb 15 12:05 AM vs Switzerland—Peacock/NBCOlympics.com

Tuesday Feb 15 7:05 PM vs Canada—Peacock/NBCOlympics.com

Wed Feb 16 6:05 AM vs Japan—Peacock/NBCOlympics.com

Friday Feb 18 6:05 AM—Semifinals

Sat Feb 19 Medal Matches

Good luck to all the Gophers in Beijing trying to bring home Gold!