COLUMBUS, Ohio - Jack Johnson wanted desperately to represent the United States at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. He flew cross-country on his own to march in the opening ceremonies and was part of Team USA's remarkable run to the gold medal game.
2013-14 Blue Jackets Schedule
The only thing better would be a chance to return to the Olympics and win gold. As one of 48 players invited to USA Hockey's National Team Orientation Camp this afternoon, Johnson's candidacy has officially begun. Johnson, 26, is one the program's most visible ambassadors and makes his offseason home in Ann Arbor - home of the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP).
This year's camp is scheduled for Aug. 26-27 at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., the practice facility of the Washington Capitals. There will not be a formal on-ice element to the camp, but instead meetings and informational sessions about the Olympics and the process leading up to the final roster selection.
Johnson has represented the United States in international competition on 11 different occasions, most recently serving as American captain at the 2012 IIHF World Hockey Championships. He has participated in two under-20 World Junior tournaments, five men's World Championships and the 2010 Olympics.
Here's more on the orientation camp roster, from USA Hockey:
"Nine players on the orientation camp roster played for the bronze-medal winning U.S. Men's National Team at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in Stockholm, Sweden, and Helsinki, Finland, including goaltender John Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa./Norfolk Admirals); forwards Nick Bjugstad (Minneapolis, Minn./Florida Panthers), Alex Galchenyuk (Milwaukee, Wis./Montreal Canadiens), T.J. Oshie (Warroad, Minn./St. Louis Blues), Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./Nashville Predators) and Paul Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./Colorado Avalanche); and defensemen Justin Faulk (South St. Paul, Minn./Carolina Hurricanes), Erik Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./Colorado Avalanche) and Jacob Trouba (Rochester, Mich./Winnipeg Jets)."
The United States' goaltending situation has a chance to look completely different than it did in Vancouver, though 2010 starter Ryan Miller was among the six goaltenders invited to camp. Also on the list: Cory Schneider, John Gibson (who was arguably Team USA's MVP during a gold medal win at the 2013 World Junior tournament), Jimmy Howard, Craig Anderson and Jonathan Quick.
What stands out among the 48 names invited is the infusion of youth, which started in 2010 when Team USA GM Brian Burke decided it was time for a "changing of the guard" with the U.S. Olympic hockey team.
OFFICIAL U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM ORIENTATION CAMP ROSTER
Several players on the invite list have international hockey experience, too, which is important considering the larger ice surface that will be in play for the Sochi Olympics. The bigger ice places emphasis on skating, puck movement and team speed; looking up and down the roster, it's pretty evident what David Poile and his management staff are looking for.
Now that the orientation camp roster has been released, the next item on USA Hockey's agenda is announcing the rest of its 2014 Olympic coaching staff. United States head coach Dan Bylsma is expected to round out his staff later this week.