Defenseman Erik Johnson, forward Phil Kessel and defenseman Paul Martin are three former standouts on the U of M Gopher hockey team. These three have been selected among the 23 players that will battle for the Olympic gold medal from February 16 to the 28th. This is the first Olympic selection for all three of them and now the Gophers have had 55 different players selected to play in the Olympics over the past decade. Johnson, Kessel and Martin have all participated in the World Championship Competition.
Martin was also a particpant of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Johnson, a Bloomington, MN native, has played for the St. Louis Blues since 2006. Kessel, a Maddison, WI native, currently plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs and has a great NHL career over the past four years. Martin helped lead the Gophers in winning back-to-back national championships his final two seasons. Martin, from Elk River, MN, was a second-team all-WCHA selcetion, named to the WCHA all-rookie team and has played for the New Jersey Devils for the past seven seasons.
The first game for the U.S. in the Olympics is against Switzerland on February 16th, going on to play Norway on the 18th and Candada on the 21st. The whole state of Minnesota will be watching this tremendous event for their state. I know that I will be.