Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sarah Potomak & Amy Potomak among 28 players named to Hockey Canada's Olympic centralization roster

When I asked Sarah Potomak about her younger sister Amy signing her Letter of Intent to play at Minnesota last November, the idea was the two of them would be teammates with the Gophers.

"I'm really excited to finally play with her at the 'U'. We're really close so it's going to be a lot of fun when she comes," she said at the time.

The two will still play together next season, however, it will be with Hockey Canada. Both Potomaks were among the 28 named to their country's Olympic centralization roster announced Thursday (May 11, 2017).

Starting in August the players will be training and preparing in Calgary for the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

From the initial roster of 28 the Canadians will need to cut five players before December to get to the 23 person roster.

Both forwards, the two Potomaks are the two youngest players on the roster. 

It's no surprise to see Sarah, a member of Hockey Canada's 2017 World Championship silver medal team, on the roster following her sophomore season where she led Minnesota with 20 goals. Amy being named is more. One of, if not the top, incoming freshman in the country, she is the only one in her age group in North America to make it to this point.

(All of those with college eligibility remaining living and training with their national teams can count 2017-18 as a redshirt season. Sarah has two years remaining. Amy would enter in 2018-19 as a redshirt freshman.)

The news comes on top of Kelly Pannek being named to Team USA's Olympic roster last week, meaning between graduation and Olympic duty the Gophers will be without its top 6 scorers and entire top line. (All except Kate Schipper will be vying for an Olympic spot, which says a lot about the elite talent head coach Brad Frost and company are recruiting to Dinkytown.) Having won 4 of the last 6 national championships, Minnesota loses 64.5% of last season's goals to a team that made the Frozen Four, unofficially second-most in the WCHA behind North Dakota's 100%. Caitlin Reilly is the top returning goal scorer with 8.

Still, the team, despite losing three key forwards with eligibility (more than any other school), contains one of, if not the top, American forwards in Grace Zumwinkle plus Taylor Wente.

Having a healthy Cara Piazza, who missed six games, and Alex Woken, out since November with a major knee injury, all season along will also help replace some of the scoring. So would getting more contributions from juniors to-be Taylor Williamson (as she started more towards the end of the season) and Nicole Schammel.

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