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The Emblem of the XX Winter Olympiad

The emblem of the XX Winter Olympics.

Bulldog, Gopher hockey players well represented at Olympics

February 7, 2006

For hockey fans who spent any time hanging around Ridder Arena in Minneapolis or the DECC in Duluth the last few years, there wasn't much doubt they were witnessing their fair share of world-class players. And that has been further validated with the naming of the women's hockey teams for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turino, Italy.

Six players chosen for the U.S. Olympic Team have Minnesota ties. Five are current or former University of Minnesota Golden Gophers--Courtney Kennedy, Lyndsay Wall, Krissy Wendell, Natalie Darwitz, and Kelly Stephens. The sixth, Jenny Potter, played for the UMD Bulldogs.

And the Bulldogs, who have found great success with international talent, will have a strong presence on the rosters of other national teams. Besides Potter, there are 10 other former, current, or future Bulldogs who will be playing on Olympic teams.

Current UMD players who have made their national teams are Michaela Lanzl (Germany) and Mari Pehkonen (Finland). Lanzl, a rookie forward for UMD, is no stranger to Olympic competition. She was on the 2002 German team at the age of 19. Pehkonen has played in all but one game for the Bulldogs this season.

Former UMD skaters joining Potter in the Olympics are Caroline Ouellette (Canada), Kristina Petrovskaia (Russia), Patricia Sautter Elsmore (Switzerland), Maria Rooth and Erika Holst (Sweden), and Satu Kiipeli and Nora Tallus (Finland). Potter, Rooth, and Holst will be making their third trip to the Olympics, while Ouellette and Petrovskaia will be making their second.

Also making the Finnish Olympic Team was Saara Tuominen, who will join the Bulldogs starting in the 2006-07 season. For the Olympians with Gopher connections, Darwitz, Kennedy, Wall, and Wendell played for the 2002 U.S. Olympic team, while Stephens will be making her first appearance in the Olympics.

One former Gopher men's hockey player was chosen for the U.S. Olympic Team. Jordan Leopold, a member of the Gophers' national championship team in 2001-02 and currently a defenseman for the Calgary Flames in the National Hockey League, will be making his first Olympic appearance.