Eleven returning Olympians are on the roster for the women's hockey team that will represent the United States at Sochi.
The roster, which includes 2009 Stevenson High School graduate and Buffalo Grove native Megan Bozek, was announced during the break between periods of the NHL's Winter Classic.
Bozek, a defenseman, won two NCAA hockey championships with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers and will play in her first Olympic games.
Julie Chu is heading to her fourth Olympics. She'll be looking for a gold medal to go with the two silvers and a bronze she's already got. Canada has won the last three Olympic titles.
Also making the team was Amanda Kessel, whose brother Phil was playing in the Winter Classic for Toronto and hoping to make the U.S. men's team that was to be introduced after the game.
"Today is an important day for our team and we're thrilled to continue our journey toward Sochi," said Katey Stone, who is on leave from her coaching job at Harvard to head Team USA. "We have a good blend of veterans and first-time Olympians and we're excited about what lies ahead. We're enthusiastic about our team and focused on getting better every day."
The U.S. women's team has seven defensemen, 11 forwards and includes three goaltenders: Jesse Vetter, Molly Schaus and Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle, all of whom have Olympic experience. The other players with Olympic experience include Kacey Bellamy, Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Gigi Marvin and Kelli Stack.
All 21 players have appeared in the World Championships, including 18 who played for the American team that beat Canada for the gold medal in Ottawa in April. The team has been training in Bedford, Mass. It will depart for the Sochi on Feb. 1, play its Olympic opener on Feb. 8 against Finland and meet archrival Canada in the preliminary round on Feb. 12.
"It's an incredible rivalry," said Duggan, who was wearing the captain's "C" on her jersey when she was interviewed on TV during the NHL game. "We're doing everything we can to prepare ourselves to get a great game over there."
The Americans and Canadians are the favorites to meet again in the gold medal game on Feb. 20. The two North American hockey powers have won every world championship and every Olympic gold medal since the sport was added to the Winter Games in Nagano in 1998.
Chu, a Harvard graduate, is the oldest player at 31 and Lee Steckline the youngest at 19.