Multiple players from last season’s Gophers women’s hockey team will don colors other than maroon and gold on the ice next winter.
Three Gophers, Amy Potomak, Sarah Potomak and Kelly Pannek, are taking Olympic redshirts for the 2016-17 season for international competition along with six other former Minnesota players, who were named to their respective national teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“We recruit incredible student-athletes, and [we] know we’ll be impacted every four years by the Olympics,” said head coach Brad Frost. “You plan ahead and have a bigger roster.”
The U.S. national team claimed seven Minnesota players in May, including Pannek, Lee Stecklein and Dani Cameranesi from the 2016-17 team.
Alumnae Hannah Brandt, Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel were also selected to represent the U.S.
Sophomore Sarah Potomak and incoming freshman Amy Potomak, sisters, will represent the Canadian national team and reported to Calgary to begin training in late May.
Because of her role in the Olympics, Pannek will postpone her senior season with the Gophers until 2018.
Pannek’s 43 assists ranked her first in the nation. She was also second in the country in points with 62.
“[My teammates have] been the biggest supporters for me, and I’ll be their biggest cheerleader,” Pannek said. “I think if any of the girls on the team were in the same position as I am, they would go for the national team as well.”
Cameranesi is no stranger to international ice, as she helped the U.S. win gold in the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship in 2015.
Kessel, Bozek, Marvin and Stecklein are all returning to the U.S. team after they took silver at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Pannek was on the team for the most recent IIHF World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan where they captured gold for the third consecutive year this April.
Former Gophers and twins Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, who transferred to North Dakota after their freshman year, will also join the U.S. roster.
The Gophers will lose their top line and incoming freshman Amy Potomak, but the team brings in five recruits who have competed for their U-18 National team.
The Winter Olympics in South Korea will start on Feb. 9, 2018.