The rosters are set, preparations are in the works and hockey fans only need wait 31 more days until the 2014 Winter Olympics open in Sochi, Russia.
The Nashville Predators will have five representatives, but only three will actually put on skates for their home countries.
President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile is at the helm of Team USA this year, and he is looking to build off a strong silver medal performance by the Americans in 2010.
“It is the honor of a lifetime to serve my country in this capacity,” Poile said at the press conference in June. “To not only represent the United States and the sport, but to do it on the highest level of sporting competition, in an event that brings the world together, is a dream come true.”
This year’s games are Poile’s second stint serving in a management role at the Olympics. Poile was also a member of the U.S. National Team Advisory Group for the 2013 World Championships squad that earned is first medal (bronze) since 2004 after serving in a similar role in 2012, and as associate GM for the U.S.’s entries at the World Championships in 2009 and 2010, and was general manager at the 1998 and 1999 Worlds.
Joining Poile with Team USA is Nashville Predators Head Equipment Manager Pete Rogers. This will be Rogers second time serving as an equipment manager for the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team after doing so at the 2006 Game in Torino.
The Rochester, N.Y., native has been Team USA’s equipment manager at seven International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championships (1998-2002, 2005, 2013), most recently serving on the staff of the 2013 U.S. Men’s National Team that captured the bronze medal in Finland/Sweden.
On the ice, Nashville’s dynamic defensive duo of Shea Weber and Roman Josi will both don their country’s crest in February.
For Weber, it is his second Olympics as a member of Team Canada, after winning Gold in Vancouver four years ago. During the 2010 edition of the tournament, he was named to the tournament’s All-Star Team after tying for second among blueliners in points (2g-4a). One of the memorable moments from Weber’s 2010 Olympics came when he put a shot through the net against the Germans in preliminary round play.
Prior to the 2010 Olympics, the Sicamous, B.C., native played in both the 2007 and 2009 World Championships and the 2005 World Juniors. At the 2009 World Championships, Weber earned a silver medal and was named the tournament’s best defenseman after posting 12 points (4g-8a) in nine games. In 28 international games for the Canadians, Weber has tallied 20 points (7g-13a).
Roman Josi makes his first appearance at the Olympics for his native Switzerland after missing the 2010 Games with an injury. Josi is no stranger to the international stage though, having taken to the ice in several international competitions since the 2007 World Junior Championships.
Since being draft by Nashville in the second round of the 2008 Entry Draft, Josi has posted 27 points (10g-17a) in 47 games for the Swiss. Most recently, Josi posted nine points (4g-5a) in 10 games to finish as the 2013 World Championship’s Most Valuable Player, Best Defenseman and as a member of the 2013 All-Star Team. The Bern native became the first Swiss player to earn MVP honors at an IIHF tournament.
Finally, forward Simon Moser, who is currently playing for the Milwaukee Admirals, will join Josi on the Swiss team. The Bern, Switzerland native ranks fifth in scoring (6g-9a-15pts) for the Admirals this season – his first in North America.
Moser has represented Switzerland in the last three World Championships, posting five points (3g-2a) in 10 games in their silver medal performance of 2013, the highest finish by the Swiss since 1935. He also helped Switzerland to a gold medal at the 2009 Division I World Junior Championships, and played in the 2007 Under-18 World Championships.
The work of Nashville’s scouts and hockey operations staff is littered throughout the Olympic rosters, beyond the three players mentioned above. In total, nine other Predators draftees or alumni representing eight nations were named to Olympic rosters over the past week.