OFFICIAL: Nathan Smith joins Mike Hastings on Team USA Olympic roster
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Minnesota State forward Nathan Smith has been named to the Team USA Olympic roster, joining head coach Mike Hastings at the games in February.
USA Hockey announced last Thursday that Hastings would join the coaching staff as an assistant coach for the games.
The official announcement was made Thursday during The Point on ESPN2.
Smith, who is the only player to be named to the roster from the CCHA, is currently projected to play on Team USA’s second line, alongside forwards Andy Miele, who currently plays for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in Russia’s KHL, and Ben Meyers, a Delano, Minn., native who currently plays in the Big 10 for the Minnesota Gophers.
Smith’s production for the No. 1 Minnesota State Mavericks certainly helped his chances of making the roster. This season, Smith is currently third in the nation in points per game (1.50), eighth in assists per game (0.91), and tied for 16th in goals scored (13).
At the conference level, Smith leads the CCHA in points (33), while ranking second in both goals and assists (20).
Other college players to make the roster with ties to Minnesota include defenseman Nick Perbix (St. Cloud State), forward Sam Hentges (St. Cloud State), defenseman Brock Faber (Minnesota), forward Noah Cates (Minnesota Duluth), and forward Matthew Knies (Minnesota).
Defenseman Aaron Ness also played collegiately for the Minnesota Gophers, but now plies his trade for the Providence Bruins of the AHL.
Team USA fans may recognize a few other names on the roster from their playing days in college, include goaltender Pat Nagle, who played in the WCHA for Ferris State from 2007-11, and forward Nick Shore, who played in the WCHA for the University of Denver from 2010-13.
Smith will join David Backes as the only other Minnesota State men’s hockey player to have played in the Winter Olympics. Backes played for Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The 2022 Winter Olympics are currently scheduled to begin on Feb. 4 and end on Feb. 20. Events will be broadcast on KEYC NBC.
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