2018 Olympics

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Lamoureux twins start foundation to help disadvantaged kids

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, stars of the United States’ gold medal-winning hockey team in South Korea, are hard at work training to make another Olympic team in 2022. But they’re also carving out time to do good off the ice, launching a foundation Monday that seeks to help underserved children and communities.

The Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux Foundation will work with groups that support disadvantaged children through education and extracurricular activities, primarily in their home state of North Dakota. It’s an extension of the sisters’ hockey camps for girls and their work with cable and internet provider Comcast, where the twins promote such things as gender equity and internet access for low-income families.

”Sometimes there’s a lack of awareness around the need that the kids need, and so we’re hoping that we’re able to inspire more people to give back,” Lamoureux-Davidson said.

”We want to be part of bringing a solution around issues,” Lamoureux-Morando said.

The 30-year-old Grand Forks natives and University of North Dakota standouts helped the U.S. win the gold medal in South Korea in 2018. Lamoureux-Morando scored the game-tying goal late in the third period of the gold-medal game against Canada, and her sister scored the game-winner in the shootout.

The twins are now training six days a week on the ice to try to earn a spot on a fourth Olympic team in Beijing in 2022. Each gave birth to a baby boy less than a year after the Olympics, and the women’s children will accompany them at a USA Hockey camp next month in Lake Placid, New York.

”It’s a total game-changer being a parent,” Lamoureux-Morando said.

The twins said their mother, Linda, was a champion of the underdog, and taught them a lesson they have come to realize goes beyond the rink. And it has become the heart of their foundation aimed at helping the disadvantaged.

”She would always just cheer for the one that’s behind,” Lamoureux-Davidson said of her mother. ”In hindsight, it was meant for sport, but it’s really has really turned into something so much more for us.”

AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.

Kendall Coyne Schofield to serve as NBC Sports analyst on Wednesday Night Hockey

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STAMFORD, Conn. – January 29, 2019 – 2018 Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield will join NBC Sports’ coverage for this week’s Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN (watch live stream here).

Coyne, who currently plays for the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), became the first woman to compete in an NHL All-Star Skills Competition event this past weekend when she participated in the fastest skater event.

Coyne will be featured on NBC Sports’ commentary team throughout the night, joining NHL Live pre-game coverage, providing reaction and analysis during intermissions, and serving as an ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst, and booth analyst.

“Kendall’s a gold-medal winning player who had a spectacular moment at the All-Star Game that had people talking about hockey,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President, Production, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “We saw the enormous reaction the players and fans had when she blazed that amazing speed, and want to celebrate her accomplishment. We think viewers will be very interested to hear her lean in and talk about hockey during a regular-season game.”

Coyne will join the broadcast team of John Forslund (play-by-play), U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Emmy Award-winner Pierre McGuire (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) for the call from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Wednesday night.

Pre-game coverage starts at 7 p.m. ET on NHL Live, hosted by Liam McHugh alongside analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and NHL insider Bob McKenzie.

MORE: Coyne Schofield’s NHL All-Star Skills participation makes big statement

U.S. women’s coach keeping blinders on as he preps for Olympic debut

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Robb Stauber can’t miss seeing the Olympic rings painted at center ice – even on the practice rink. The former goalie is doing his best to ignore all the reminders that he is making his head coaching debut on the world’s biggest stage for women’s hockey.

Being at the Pyeongchang Games is reminder enough of the monumental task Stauber accepted in trying to end the Americans’ 20-year gold medal drought.

So Stauber is making a conscious effort to stick to the approach he has preached to his players of simply staying in the moment.

”This is a hockey tournament,” Stauber said after practice Thursday. ”I’ve done hockey personally my entire life. I’m not sure I know anything better, so I know and I know what I see and I know what I believe in and I believe in our players, so I’m sticking to that focus. I personally don’t want to get caught up in the Olympics. I enjoy it. I remember watching it as a kid. I get all that stuff.”

This isn’t Stauber’s first Olympics. He was an assistant in 2014 when the Americans blew a 2-0 lead and lost in overtime to their biggest rival, Canada. But Stauber, who played 62 NHL games in stints with the Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres, accepted the job last May knowing exactly what USA Hockey expected from him.

”The drought’s going to end,” Stauber said. ”It might as well end now. I mean it’s going to end, and I think we have the players to do it, and I like our approach.”

Katey Stone coached the Americans in Sochi, and Ken Klee coached the United States to consecutive world championships before being ousted in March 2017.

Stauber had only been head coach of the Minnesota Whitecaps for the 2015-16 season. He was goalie coach at the University of Minnesota, helping the men win back-to-back national titles in 2002 and 2003. He was goalie coach with the Minnesota-Duluth women for four seasons capped by the 2008 national championship.

Since 2010, the native of Duluth, Minnesota, has been involved with the U.S. women’s national team as one of the first hires by Reagan Carey after she took over as director of women’s hockey by USA Hockey in August 2010. The general manager of the Olympic team had watched games with Stauber, getting the chance to learn how he watches games and his vision for his teams.

Carey turned to Stauber last May after he guided the Americans to their fourth straight world championship and eighth in the last 10 years. She said his attention to detail formed by his experience as a goaltender will help Stauber now.

”Being head coach is a different level of pressure, but his training whether as an athlete, I think as a coach and just his approach to things really attention to detail and keeping things calm and consistent (I) have zero concerns about his ability to manage the Olympic games any different than he has any of the world championships or camps or events before this,” Carey said.

The Americans have embraced Stauber’s approach. It’s why they are talking only about Sunday’s game against Finland and not a preliminary round rematch with Canada on Tuesday. The end goal is playing for a gold medal on Feb. 22.

”We’re not searching for the inner strength anymore,” captain Meghan Duggan said. ”We spent the last four years preparing ourselves for these games, and the number one thing for our team is we focus on ourselves. That’s it. Our first game is against Finland on the 11th and that’s who we’ve been preparing for since we got here, that’s where our focus is right now.”

Stauber has changed up how the Americans play. He wants them skating fast, playing off each other to score. The Americans struggled to score in December as they wrapped up an exhibition tour against Canada scoring only three goals while losing four games.

Over the past month, Stauber has seen improvement.

”The past month we see some things that we love and sometimes not only do we like it, we’re almost surprised by some of that imagination and creativity, how they’re feeding off each other,” Stauber said. ”It’s like, ‘Wait.’ When we’re a little surprised, I wonder what others might think.”

It’s almost time for the Americans, and Stauber, to prove what they can do.

More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

Follow Teresa M. Walker at http://www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

NHL All-Stars see lack of Olympic participation as ‘missed opportunity’

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TAMPA — A year ago at this time no one was expecting to be talking about a 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa. We were instead getting some early thoughts in our heads about who might be named to their respective country’s Olympic roster ahead of next month’s Games in PyeongChang.

But as the hockey world descended on Tampa this weekend, so too did a number of players who could have been preparing to play in the Olympic tournament. In April, the league announced that it would not be sending players to PyeongChang, marking the first time the Games would not feature NHLers since 1994.

The decision was an upsetting one for many players, some of whom still find it to be a bit of a sore spot nearly a year later.

“It’s a little frustrating, not just personally but for any player that had a chance to go represent their country,” said Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux during All-Star Media on Saturday. “It’s a lot of guys’ dream. It sucks, but what are you gonna do?”

“It’s a missed opportunity,” said Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets. “As cool as it for players to be a part of the Olympic experience, it’s a missed opportunity to expand our game. A lot of casual viewers that maybe aren’t hockey fans, they watch USA-Canada and they cheer, and that’s an opportunity for us to expand the game and make more fans. That’s kind of the bummer about it. You see some of those moments in primetime TV, we don’t get that in hockey as much as we should sometimes.”

While the NHL is passing on 2018, participation in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing is still up in the air. The league clearly wants to make inroads in the Chinese market and sending their best players in four years would be a good step in promoting their brand. The Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks played two preseason games there in September and the Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins could be heading their next season as well.

Before the 2022 Games arrive, there is the chance we the league and players could find themselves involved in Collective Bargaining Agreement talks. Whenever they do sit down to hammer out a new CBA, players believe that Olympic participation could very well be a talking point.

“I think it will be, yeah. That’s a tournament that you get maybe 2-3 chances to go and they take one chance away,” said Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. “It’s a little sour but at the same time you can’t do anything about it right now and just have to focus on what you can do here.”

“It’s too bad that has to be part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” said Wheeler. “That was kind of the point last time, was seeing it came down to a dollars and sense thing. I think the fans deserve to see the best players in the world play on that stage. I think the fans would agree with that. I don’t know if it’ll be part of the CBA negotiations. I’m sure it’ll probably be brought up.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Big brother Granato prepared for role as US Olympic coach

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Growing up as the oldest of six children, Tony Granato always seemed to be in charge.

If that meant telling brothers Don and Robby to help their younger siblings put on their shoes or find their jackets, that’s what he did.

A decade or so later, those same qualities stood out on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team – even though defenseman Eric Weinrich and 15 other players were older than Granato.

”I really looked up to Tony as a real leader and someone you could aspire to,” Weinrich said. ”He was really a mature guy for the group that we had. I always kind of thought of him as an older player than he really was. He always seemed like one of those guys that would be a good captain.”

Decades later, the 53-year-old big brother finds himself in that role again on the biggest stage in international hockey.

Granato will coach an unheralded men’s hockey team without NHL players at the Olympics in South Korea next month. Hand-picked by general manager, friend and 1988 Olympic teammate Jim Johannson, who died unexpectedly on the eve of the games, Granato has spent more than 30 years building to this moment.

”I’ve been there as a fan, I’ve been there as a player, I’ve been there as an assistant coach,” Granato said . ”There’s no greater sporting event. There’s no greater place for an athlete to be.”

Brother Don said Tony’s ”spirit is what the Olympic spirit is,” something that began as a teenager in the wake of the 1980 ”Miracle On Ice” team winning the gold medal in Lake Placid, New York. The four hockey-playing Granato children got white and blue jerseys of 1980 heroes Mike Eruzione and Jim Craig and wore them during spirited games in their suburban Chicago basement that always pitted Tony and Cammi against Don and Robby.

The 1980 victory helped the Granato kids realize they could aspire to make the NHL. After being drafted in the sixth round in 1982 by the New York Rangers, Tony played at the University of Wisconsin and representing the U.S. at two world junior tournaments, three world championships and the 1988 Calgary Games.

With full knowledge that he and his teammates were supposed to replicate the 1980 success, Granato was tied for second with eight points and still looks back on that experience with pride even though the U.S. went 2-3 and didn’t reach the medal round.

”I thought we had a tremendous team. We just didn’t get the results,” Granato said. ”We had two phenomenal games: one against Russia and one against the Czechs that we lost heartbreaking games that we could’ve easily won and put ourselves in medal contention. It didn’t go our way, but it was a tremendous honor to be part of that team. I’ve got nothing but great memories about it.”

Eleven years into his NHL career, Granato’s big-brother mentality was on full display in the form of telephone support for sister Cammi as she prepared for Nagano in 1998, the first Olympics with women’s hockey.

”It would be a five-minute conversation, but he was just checking in to make sure I was good, how are the games, how am I feeling – kind of a pep talk,” said Cammi Granato, who in 2010 became one of the first two women to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. ”Of course I listened to everything he had to tell me.”

Granato put up 535 points in 852 games with the Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks during a proud pro career, but he wasn’t selected to play for the U.S. in 1998, the first Olympics featuring NHL players. He traveled to Japan anyway to watch Cammi. When he had to return to North America to resume the season, he was the first person she called to celebrate with after winning the gold medal.

Four years later, when Canada beat the U.S. in the women’s final in Salt Lake City, Cammi saw Tony and his children immediately when she got off the bus following the loss.

”His kids, my nieces and nephews, when I got off the bus were right there and I was pretty devastated,” Cammi said. ”Tony was the next one in line to just grab me and I just remember breaking down with him. He’s always been there for me.”

Since then, Granato has coached with the Colorado Avalanche, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings and is in his second season at Wisconsin, his alma mater. Influenced along the way by Stanley Cup winning-coaches Joel Quenneville, Dan Bylsma and Mike Babcock, he returned to the Olympics as an assistant on Bylsma’s U.S. staff in Sochi in 2014.

Over one summer camp and two weeks in Russia, Granato made a significant impact on players. James van Riemsdyk called him ”cerebral” and T.J. Oshie instantly saw how much he cared about the players and USA Hockey.

”He was a really good guy and cared about players and cared about winning,” added Justin Faulk. ”That goes a long way.”

Even though being the bad guy sometimes comes with the territory of being coach, Granato is widely considered by former players to be an excellent communicator. Don got to see that up close as one of his assistants last year at Wisconsin.

”He is exceptional at trying to put himself in the player’s shoes,” Don said. ”He really will communicate differently to different people.”

Granato will be tested on that in South Korea with a 25-man roster that includes 17 players from European professional leagues, four from the college ranks, three from the American Hockey League and semi-retired 38-year-old captain Brian Gionta, many of whom already know him from the Deutschland Cup in November. Gionta described Granato’s coaching style as motivational and full of passion for the game.

Enthusiasm has never been lacking for Granato, who insists he’s not trying to match Cammi’s gold medal for family bragging rights.

”Our expectations of ourselves are to compete for a medal,” Granato said. ”There’s no NHL players going to be able to play in it. But I think it’s even more exciting because the opportunity that these athletes are going to get will be the biggest stage that they’ve ever been on in their lives.”

Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org