There's a common thread on the 2022 USA Olympic men's ice hockey team. It connects all 25 players selected to Beijing: They're all either current or former college hockey players.
Fifteen of the 25 are currently stars in college hockey. The school with the most players selected to the USA team was Minnesota with three. Michigan, Harvard, Boston College and St. Cloud State all had two each.
It's a star-studded group of players, so let's take a look at the overall roster — and the 15 current college players picked and their college careers so far.
|Noah Cates||Minnesota Duluth||F|
|Drew Commesso||Boston University||G|
|Drew Helleson||Boston College||D|
|Sam Hentges||St. Cloud State||F|
|Marc McLaughlin||Boston College||F|
|Andy Miele||Miami (OH)||F|
|Pat Nagle||Ferris State||G|
|Nick Perbix||St. Cloud State||D|
|Jake Sanderson||North Dakota||D|
|Nathan Smith||Minnesota State||F|
|David Warsofsky||Boston University||D|
- Nick Abruzzese (Harvard): A junior for the Crimson, Abruzzese has been key in Harvard's offensive attack for the past three seasons. It started as a freshman in 2019-20 when he posted 44 points in 31 games, which got him ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year and First Team All-Ivy. His 1.42 points per game mark was also second in DI college hockey that season. While Harvard didn't play in 2020-21, this season, the Slate Hill, New York native has picked up where he left off, posting 21 points in 13 games. He was a fourth-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2019 NHL Draft.
- Matty Beniers (Michigan): Beniers is one of the best players in college hockey this season with 26 points in 22 games. His stable, two-way presence down the middle has helped linemates Kent Johnson and Brendan Brisson a bunch. Last season saw the Hingham, Massachusetts native post 24 points in 24 games and jump onto the scene as a top prospect in that 2021 NHL Draft. That culminated in the Seattle Kraken using the No. 2 overall pick to select him.
- Brendan Brisson (Michigan): It shouldn't surprise anyone that Brisson is one of the leading goal scorers in the country this season, as his 14 lamplighters rank fifth in the nation. His 27 points are also good for first on a stacked Wolverines squad. The Manhattan Beach, California native has improved a ton since his freshman season last year, when he posted 21 points in 24 games. He was selected 29th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2020 NHL Draft.
- Noah Cates (Minnesota Duluth): A senior with the Bulldogs, Cates is posting a solid season with 14 points in 20 games so far. His collegiate success is lengthy, earning a spot on the NCHC All-Rookie Team in 2018-19 after posting 23 points. The Stillwater, Minnesota native followed that season up with an even better one in 2019-20, scoring 14 goals and 33 points, which were career highs. That season, he was named to the NCHC All-Conference first team. In 2020-21, he captained Minnesota Duluth. He was selected in the fifth round by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2017 NHL Draft.
- Sean Farrell (Harvard): The Hopkinton, Massachusetts native has started his first season with a bang. Farrell has 19 points in 13 games. He also has six multi-point games. He didn't get to play last season due to Harvard's athletics shutdown due to COVID-19. He was selected in the fourth round by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2020 NHL Draft.
RANKINGS: Check out the latest Power 10
- Sam Hentges (St. Cloud State): Despite missing some time this season due to injury, Hentges has nine points in seven games. The New Brighton, Minnesota native posted four points over two games against Bemijdi State in his first weekend back from both upper and lower body injuries. As a freshman in 2018-19, he was a major contributor on the Huskies, posting 20 points. He followed that up in 2019-20 with 24 points. In 29 games last season, he posted 17 points and helped guide St. Cloud State all the way to the national championship game. He was drafted in the seventh round by the Minnesota Wild in 2018.
- Matthew Knies (Minnesota): A second-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2021 NHL Draft, Knies has had a strong start to his collegiate career. The Phoenix, Arizona native has 20 points in 20 games so far. His best game came against Penn State on Nov. 19 when the freshman tallied a goal and three points.
- Marc McLaughlin (Boston College): If Team USA needs a reliable center to take defensive zone draws, McLaughlin will most likely be the guy. When he was a sophomore, he was a runner-up for the Hockey East Best Defensive Forward Award. Last year as a junior, which was his best in college so far, he posted 24 points and won the Hockey East Best Defensive Forward Award. The North Billerica, Massachusetts native has 20 points in 19 games this season, including 14 goals which is tied with Brisson for fifth in the nation.
- Ben Meyers (Minnesota): As captain, Meyers is in the midst of another great season with the Golden Gophers, posting a team-high 23 points in 20 games. He's well on his way to breaking his career-high in points, which he set last season with 28. In 2019-20, his freshman season, the Delano, Minnesota native recorded 26 points, which was good enough to get on the Big Ten All-Freshmen Team and finish as a finalist for the Big Ten Freshman of the Year Award.
If you see Nathan Smith scoring goals, just know we winning that game. Bing Bong 😈 pic.twitter.com/1fTf4TelEF— Minnesota State Hockey (@MinnStMHockey) December 10, 2021
- Nathan Smith (Minnesota State): Through roughly three months of play in college hockey, Smith is an easy favorite for the Hobey Baker Award. The Hudson, Florida native leads the nation in points with 33 and is the heartbeat of the No. 1 team in the nation. When he was a freshman, he posted 27 points and earned a spot on the 2019-20 WCHA All-Rookie Team. Last season saw him score 25 points and help get Minnesota State all the way to the Frozen Four, where he was named to the All-Tournament Team.
- Brock Faber (Minnesota): The Maple Grove, Minnesota native has been a stable force on Minnesota's backend this season, totaling 11 points in 20 games. Last year as a freshman, he was a Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection and an Honorable Mention for the All-Big Ten. He was also a finalist for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He led the team with 39 blocked shots last season as well. He was picked in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft.
POLL SZN: Here's the latest USCHO poll
- Drew Helleson (Boston College): The Farmington, Minnesota native is in the midst of a strong junior season, scoring 14 points in 18 games. After posting six points in his freshman year, he followed it up with a great sophomore season, tallying 15 points and a plus-23, which ranked third in the nation. He finished as a Second Team All-American and was named the Best Defensive Defenseman in the league and a Hockey East First Team All-Star. The Colorado Avalanche selected Helleson in the second round of the 2019 NHL Draft.
- Nick Perbix (St. Cloud State): As a senior this season, Perbix has 12 points in 18 games and at 6-foot-4, he's been a quality shutdown presence for the Huskies. The Elk River, Minnesota native kicked off his collegiate career with a bang, posting 20 points as a freshman in 2018-19. That got him on the 2019 All-NCHC Rookie Team. He followed that up with a strong sophomore season and then an even better junior year in 2020-21. He led the team in assists with 16 and registered 23 points, which was fourth in the country for defensemen. He was a runner-up for NCHC Offense Defenseman of the Year and earned a spot on the Second-Team All-NCHC squad. He was picked in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- Jake Sanderson (North Dakota): One of the most dynamic players in college hockey, Sanderson ranks second in points among all defensemen with 22 in 17 games. This sophomore season has seen him make a big jump in play from last season when he was still really good. As a freshman, he scored 15 points in 22 games and led all Fighting Hawks defensemen with a plus-20 rating. That great play got the Whitefish, Montana native on the All-NCHC Rookie Team. His end-to-end rushes and smooth skating will surely be a welcome addition for Team USA. He was selected fifth overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2020 NHL Draft.
- Drew Commesso (Boston University): The Norwell, Massachusetts native has been solid for the Terriers this season, sporting a 2.67 goals against average and a .907 save percentage in 19 games. Because he was just a freshman last year, he only saw action in 11 games and even though his 3.34 GAA wasn't superb, his .909 save percentage was encouraging. Commesso has loads of potential for his junior and senior seasons in college. He was selected in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks.