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Suter family exudes quiet confidence about Olympics

Friday, 02.19.2010 / 1:00 AM / All-Access Vancouver

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Suter family exudes quiet confidence about Olympics
Ryan Suter is hoping to add another Olympic gold medal to the one his dad won in 1980.
You probably already know that Ryan Suter is the only son of a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic men's hockey team currently playing in the NHL.

Still, unless you're privy to the situation and the Suter name, you'd never know it.

NHL.com: "Hey, Ryan, what are your memories of dad winning gold in 1980?"

Ryan Suter: "Zero."

Huh?

Of course, Suter was born five years after his father, Bob, celebrated the "Miracle on Ice" in Lake Placid. But it's almost unfathomable to think the family patriarch would deny his son the greatest tale of achievement in the history of hockey in the United States.

Then again, that's just not his style.

"Playing for Team USA is one of those things you look forward to. When I got the call and was asked to play on this team, it was an easy answer. It didn't matter who was on the team or who the coach was. It's just an honor to wear the jersey and compete for your country." -- Ryan Suter

"The only stuff I hear is through the media and that movie, 'Miracle,' " Ryan Suter told NHL.com. "Dad's always been pretty quiet about it. Sure, it's all intriguing, but he's a humble guy and doesn't say much and when I do ask him he usually changes the subject. He's proud of it and happy that he got the chance to be on that team and the fact they won, but he's just very humble."

Suter admitted he acquired much of his background on his dad's achievement after watching the HBO documentary on the 1980 team. The gold medal has been left in just about every crevice of the house, too, and Ryan even forgot it in a friend's locker at school one time. No big deal, dad never asked for it that night.

There's no doubt, however, that Bob Suter is the apple in Ryan's eye. He admires and respects everything his father stands for and it shows in his determination on the ice and graciousness off it.

The 25-year-old Nashville Predators defenseman is a product of the United States National Team Developmental Program. He's won gold medals for Team USA in the World Under-17, World Under-18 and World Junior Championships. Not only did he follow in dad's footsteps as a standout blueliner at the University of Wisconsin, but he's now hoping to double the gold-medal count in the household as an Olympian.

"I feel it's an honor to wear the Team USA jersey and every time I'm on the ice I play my hardest and give everything I have," Ryan Suter said. "Playing for Team USA is one of those things you look forward to. When I got the call and was asked to play on this team, it was an easy answer. It didn't matter who was on the team or who the coach was. It's just an honor to wear the jersey and compete for your country."

"Having a son go through this is really topping on the whole thing," Bob Suter said. "I still remember after visiting with the President (Jimmy Carter) after we had won and then never talking about it again for about a year. But it's neat to know how important our victory was for USA Hockey."

Dad, incidentally, isn't the only hockey player from the Suter family to medal at the Olympics. Ryan's uncle, Gary Suter, played for the 2002 silver-medal winning U.S. team, also coached by the legendary Herb Brooks, in Salt Lake City.

"My uncle is the same way (quiet) when it comes to discussing his silver," Ryan said with a grin. "He's probably even more so than my dad. But that's just how they are. They're quiet guys who don't expect anything from anybody so they just go about their day."

Ryan Suter, born in Madison, Wis., felt getting the opportunity to play in Ann Arbor, Mich., for the NTDP was a major key in his development.

"Playing for the NTDP was important because I moved away and lived on my own and was forced to grow up," Suter said. "The program was the total package workout and the hockey was excellent playing against top teams and those international teams from different countries. It was also beneficial to play against older guys, college guys and many junior guys as well."

His only regret is not having the chance to spend more than one season playing hockey at Wisconsin. Both Bob and Gary Suter each played two seasons at the university.

"I don't really know how to describe my one year there (in 2003-04)," Suter said. "It would have been neat to stay and be a part of the championship (in 2006) because that's my hometown and I watched Wisconsin hockey growing up as a kid, but I decided to move on and, right now, am glad I did."

After being drafted seventh overall by the Predators in 2003, Suter played his one season for the Badgers before joining Nashville's American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee during the NHL work stoppage. He then joined the Predators as a rookie in 2005-06, appearing in 71 games.

"I wouldn't change anything ... I'm grateful," Suter said. "Look where it's gotten me."

Contact Mike Morreale at mmorreale@nhl.com