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Hockey: Kendall Coyne, of Palos Heights, named to United States women’s Olympic hockey team

TORONTO ON - DECEMBER 30:  Goalie Genevieve Lacasse #31 Team Canadstops Kendall Coyne #26 Team USA during Sochi Olympics

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 30: Goalie Genevieve Lacasse #31 of Team Canada stops Kendall Coyne #26 of Team USA during a Sochi Olympics preparation game at the Air Canada Centre December 30, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images

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Updated: February 4, 2014 6:27AM



Nothing like some local flavor to spice up the U.S. women’s Olympic hockey team.

Kendall Coyne, a Palos Heights resident and Sandburg graduate, was named Wednesday to the 21-member team that will compete next month in Sochi, Russia.

Coyne, 21, is among 10 Olympic rookies on a roster that is favored to win the gold medal.

Coyne, a forward, has skated 71 games for Team USA since 2007, compiling 43 goals and 37 assists during that span.

Upon graduating from Sandburg in 2011, Coyne played at Northeastern University for two seasons, recording 63 goals and 50 assists in 65 games.

However, she took this year off from school to be with the U.S. National Team, which defeated defending Olympic champion Canada in the 2013 world championships. Coyne, a left-handed shooter, had four points in four games.

Also on the U.S. women’s team is Amanda Kessel, whose brother, Phil — a forward with the Toronto Maple Leafs — earned a place on the U.S. men’s team.

Amanda Kessel, 21, was the top scorer in the NCAA last season with 101 points in 37 games while leading the Minnesota Golden Gophers to the national championship and earning the Patty Kazmaier award as the top player in NCAA women’s hockey. She is one of five members of Team USA to have won the women’s hockey Heisman.

“We’d like to play a very up-tempo game, so that’s really what the profile of our roster looks like,” coach Katey Stone said. “Amanda fits into that style very well.”

Former Harvard star Julie Chu, the 2007 Kazmaier winner, is heading to her fourth Olympics and looking for a gold medal to go with the two silvers and a bronze she’s already got.

The women’s team has seven defensemen, 11 forwards and includes three goaltenders: Jesse Vetter, Molly Schaus and Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle, all of whom have Olympic experience. The other players with Olympic experience include Kacey Bellamy, Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Gigi Marvin and Kelli Stack.

Chu is the oldest player at 31 and Lee Steckline the youngest at 19.

Another Chicago-area product on the team is defenseman Megan Bozek, of Buffalo Grove. One of the final two cuts from the U.S. team was Plainfield native Lisa Chesson.

All 21 players have appeared in the World Championships, including 18 who played for the American team that beat Canada for the gold medal in Ottawa in April.

The U.S. team, which has been training in Bedford, Mass., will depart for Sochi on Feb. 1, play its Olympic opener on Feb. 8 against Finland and meet Canada in the preliminary round on Feb. 12.

Canada has won the last three Olympic titles.

The Americans and Canadians are the favorites to meet again in the gold medal game on Feb. 20. The two North American hockey powers have won every world championship and every Olympic gold medal since the sport was added to the Winter Games in Nagano in 1998.

Contributing: AP



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