Zach Parise humbled to be named captain of Team USA
The Wild's Zach Parise has been named leader of a small army known as the U.S. Olympic Men's Hockey Team, which is expected later this month to invade the resort coastal city of Sochi, Russia.
Friday's announcement brings an end to speculation of the last few weeks about which American-born player would don the mighty letter "C."
"The majority of the guys wear a letter with their own team so there's going to be plenty of guys over there capable of doing it," Parise told Wild.com, "but I'm pretty humbled to be named the captain."
The 29-year-old Minneapolis native's Olympic resume is already stacked. Notably, he won a gold medal in 2002 with the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team and was an alternate captain on the gold-winning 2004 junior team, as well as the 2008 men's national team. He ended the 2010 Olympics tied for the team lead in both goals and points, earning a silver medal.
Parise's stellar year with the Wild was put on pause earlier this month with a reported foot injury. He returned to the lineup last week after missing 14 games and racked up a combined seven points against Anaheim and Colorado.
On Friday, Wild defenseman Ryan Suter was also named alternative captain for Team USA, a role he held on his first U.S. Olympic trip in 2010 and one he'll share this time with left-wing Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings. The core of the team also includes David Backes and Ryan Callahan, both of whom are captains for the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers, respectively.
Combined, Team USA will be a "hard team to play against" with a "blue collar mentality," coach Dan Byslma told reporters. "Zach embodies that."
-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
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