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One Former, Four Current NCHC Players Selected to 2022 U.S. Men's Olympic Hockey Team

By NCHC, 01/13/22, 6:00PM EST


SCSU’s Hentges and Perbix, UND’s Sanderson, UMD’s Cates and former Omaha captain Brian Cooper named to squad

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – For the second straight Winter Olympics, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) will be well represented as four current NCHC players plus an NCHC alumnus were named to the 2022 U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team that will compete in Beijing, China at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. In all, six NCHC teams will have a current or former player on Team USA, as USA Hockey revealed the 25-man roster on Thursday that will compete for gold.

The four current NCHC players selected for the U.S. Olympic team are a pair of St. Cloud State seniors in forward Sam Hentges and defenseman Nick Perbix, along with Minnesota Duluth senior forward and captain Noah Cates and North Dakota sophomore defenseman Jake Sanderson. Former Omaha defenseman and captain Brian Cooper (2012-16) was also selected to Team USA. In addition to those five, two alumni of NCHC teams also made the final U.S. roster in former Miami forward Andy Miele (2008-11) and former Denver forward Nick Shore (2010-13).

Hentges and Perbix won’t be the only Huskies in China, however, as SCSU head coach Brett Larson was named an assistant coach for Team USA last week.

Cates (Stillwater, Minn.) is a two-time captain for the Bulldogs and a two-time All-NCHC selection, including First-Team honors in 2019-20 as a sophomore. The Philadelphia Flyers draft pick was also an NCHC All-Rookie Team selection as a freshman, when he helped UMD win a second straight national championship. Also in his freshman season, Cates played on the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team, helping them earn a silver medal at the World Junior Championship. A Second-Team All-American as a sophomore, Cates is tied for the team lead with 14 points (6g/8a) in 20 games this season. He has 89 career points (34g/55a) in 122 career games as a Bulldog.

Cooper (Anchorage, Alaska) was a four-year blue liner for the Mavericks, donning the ‘C’ as a senior in 2015-16. He spent his final three seasons in the NCHC, before playing in the AHL for the San Diego Gulls. After three seasons in the AHL, Cooper took his game overseas, playing in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) the last two seasons. This season, Cooper has nine points (1g/8a) in 30 games for IK Oskarshamn, while serving as an assistant captain. For his college career, Cooper racked up 43 points (12g/31a) in 143 career games for the Mavericks, helping them make the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four.

Hentges (New Brighton, Minn.) recently returned from injury and tallied three goals and four points in his first two games back over New Year’s weekend. On the season, the Minnesota Wild draft pick has nine points (4g/5a) in only seven games played. His best season came as a sophomore when he had 24 points in 28 games, while earning NCHC October Player of the Month that season. For his career, Hentges has 70 points (29g/41a) in 101 career games as a Husky.

Perbix (Elk River, Minn.) was a Second-Team All-NCHC and Third-Team All-USCHO selection last season as a junior, while earning NCHC All-Rookie Team accolades as a freshman in 2018-19. The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect has 12 points (1g/11a) in 18 games this season and has racked up 70 points (17g/53a) in 122 career games as a Husky, including a career-best 23 points (7g/16a) last season when he helped lead SCSU to its first ever NCAA D-I National Championship game.

Sanderson (Whitefish, Mont.) leads all NCHC blue liners and is second nationally among NCAA defensemen with 22 points (6g/16a) this season in only 17 games so far. He is tops nationally among NCAA D-men averaging 1.29 points per game and is a two-time NCHC Defenseman of the Week this season, as well. Sanderson was an NCHC All-Rookie Team selection last season, tallying 15 points (2g/13a) in 22 games for North Dakota. The fifth overall pick by the Ottawa Senators in 2020 is a two-time member of the U.S. National Junior Team, helping Team USA win gold at the 2021 World Junior Championship, while he was serving as captain of the U.S. team at the 2022 event this year until it was cancelled. Sanderson is an assistant captain for UND this year.

Miele (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) starred at Miami from 2008 through 2011, winning the Hobey Baker Award as a senior in 2011. He amassed 160 career points (60g/100a) in 141 career games as a RedHawk in the old CCHA. A former member of the Phoenix Coyotes, Miele is now in his third season with Nizhny Novgorod in the KHL in Russia, where he has 36 points in 47 games this season.

Shore (Denver, Colo.) was a standout for three seasons at Denver from 2010-13, serving as an assistant captain his final year. He compiled 93 career points (34g/59a) in 115 games as a Pioneer in the WCHA. Shore spent five seasons in the NHL, mostly with the L.A. Kings, and now plays in the KHL with Miele for Sibir Novosibirsk, where he has 25 points in 48 games this season.

The 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China run from Feb. 3-20. Team USA opens competition on Thursday, Feb. 10 against host China and is part of Group A for preliminary round play, which also includes rival Canada (Feb. 12) and Germany (Feb. 13). The knockout round of the Olympics then begins on Tuesday, Feb. 15 with the gold-medal game set for Sunday, Feb. 20.

Three NCHC student-athletes participated in the 2018 Winter Olympics, including former Denver forward Troy Terry and former St. Cloud State defenseman Will Borgen on Team USA. Terry tallied five assists in five games for the U.S. Olympic Team. Former North Dakota forward Ludvig Hoff also represented his native Norway in South Korea.

NCHC Players/Alumni on U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team

Noah Cates, Sr., F, Minnesota Duluth
Brian Cooper, D, Omaha (2012-16)
Sam Hentges, Sr., F, St. Cloud State
Nick Perbix, Sr., D, St. Cloud State
Jake Sanderson, So., D, North Dakota