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U.S. Olympic roster has Upstate NY feel to it again

If you were watching the announcement of the U.S. Olympic Men's hockey team after the Winter Classic last week, perhaps you had the same feeling of pride I did.  It wasn't about the players who would be representing our country, although that is obviously important.  Every time a player was announced who hailed from Western New York or Upstate New York, I had a big smile on my face.

There were a number of smiles, five to be exact.  That's right, five players on the 25 man roster, or 20%, hail from Upstate New York.  Buffalo will be represented by Patrick Kane and Brooks Orpik,  both of whom will be playing in their second Olympic games. Rochester native Ryan Callahan is also a repeat olympian as is Dustin Brown who hails from Ithaca.  The fifth upstater to earn a spot is Central New York native Jimmy Howard.

So how does New York state stack up in terms of the makeup of the U.S roster?  First you have to add in Kevin Shattenkirk who is from New Rochelle and that gives the Empire state a grand total of six players on the team.  Only Minnesota, with eight, can boast more native sons on the squad that will attempt to earn hockey gold for the U.S. for the first time since 1980.  

There are three players each from Michigan and Wisconsin, two from Connecticut and New Jersey and one from Missouri.  All in all, seven different states are represented. 

The 2014 team has 13 players with olympic experience, a big jump up from the 2010 roster which had only three players who previously skated in the olympics.  The average age of the roster is 27, slightly above the 26.5 from 2010 and the average size of the U.S. team is 6-1, 203 pounds.

The Sabres Ryan Miller is the senior statesman at the age of 33.  Orpik, a native of Amherst, is also 33 but is two months younger than Miller. 

The U.S. Team, which will be coached by Dan Bylsma, is made up of 15 former first round draft picks and six second rounders.  There is one selection each from the third, fourth, fifth and seventh rounds of the draft.

This will be the fifth Olympic games in which NHL players have participated and 118 roster spots have been used in that time span.  New York state has accounted for 19 out of the 118 total which puts them second behind Michigan with 24.   Hockey crazy Minnesota is third with 18 and Massachusetts is fourth with 16.

As far as Western New York is concerned, we have produced five U.S hockey olympians.  In addition to Kane, Orpik and Callahan, West Seneca's Aaron Miller and Rochester Brian Gionta  also played for our country.