January 2, 2014

Three Former Wildcat Skaters and One Skier Represent Team USA at 2014 Olympics

DURHAM, N.H. – USA Hockey announced Wednesday that a pair of former University of New Hampshire standouts will be competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics with the selection of James van Riemsdyk to the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and Kacey Bellamy to the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team. 

Those announcements increased the total number of former UNH student-athletes at the 2014 Olympics to three, as Katey Stone was proclaimed head coach of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team in June 2012.

In addition, former UNH alpine skier Leanne Smith will compete as a member of the U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Team for the second consecutive Olympiad. Smith placed 19th in the women's super G and 21st in the women's combined at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

van Riemsdyk was named to the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team in an announcement following the conclusion of the NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium, where he scored a goal to help the Toronto Maple Leafs record a 3-2 victory against the Detroit Red Wings. He is one of 14 forwards on the U.S. roster. 

van Riemsdyk, just the sixth Wildcat in program history to be selected to a men’s ice hockey Olympic team, played two years at UNH before heading to the National Hockey League. In 2007-08, he played in 31 games while registering 11 goals and 23 assists. Then in 2008-09, he totaled 17 goals and 23 assists in 36 games – the 40 points marked a team high and the 23 assists tied for the team lead – and was named a Hockey East Second Team All-Star and to the All-New England Team. van Riemsdyk compiled a two-year total of 74 points (28g, 46a) in 67 games as a Wildcat.

van Riemsdyk has donned a Team USA jersey in six previous tournaments and won a gold medal at the 2006 Men’s Under-18 World Championship. He also competed at the Men’s World Championship in 2011, World Junior Championship in 2007, ’08 and ’09 as well as the Men’s Under-18 World Championship in 2007, when he won silver. 

In the 2007 NHL Draft, he was selected second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers and currently plays with Toronto. He has 14 goals and 15 assists in 39 games this season and five-year NHL totals of 79 goals and 81 assists in 283 games.

The New Jersey native joins the company of Rube Bjorkman, Adrien Plavsic, Bob Miller, Jeff Lazaro and Steve Leach as being the only Wildcats in program history to play at the Olympics. All but Plavsic (Canada) represented the U.S. at the Games.

Bellamy was selected from the 25 players on the 2013-14 U.S. Women’s National Team, which has been competing in the Bring on the World Tour and practicing in Massachusetts since early September. The women’s Olympic roster was announced during the second intermission of the NHL Winter Classic. Bellamy is one of seven defensemen on the U.S. roster. 

It will be the second Olympics for Bellamy, who won silver with the U.S. during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. The defenseman also helped the U.S. win gold at the World Championships in 2011 and 2013 as well as silver in 2012. Since first skating for Team USA at the 2006 Four Nations Cup, Bellamy has compiled 38 points (five goals, 33 assists) in 93 games.

In her four-year career at UNH (2006-09), Bellamy amassed 27 goals and 80 assists for 107 points in 143 games. She ranks third on UNH’s leaderboard among defensemen in both assists and points – the school benchmark for points is 108. Bellamy ranked third in the nation in defensemen scoring (0.80 points per game) as a senior en route to being named to the RBK All-America First Team. Her Hockey East accolades included First Team All-Star, Tournament MVP and All-Tournament Team; she was also honored as UNH’s Jim Urquhart Student-Athlete of the Year. 

Bellamy led UNH to four consecutive Hockey East regular season and tournament titles, as well as four straight appearances in the NCAA tournament with two trips to the Frozen Four.

Bellamy is the fifth UNH alum to compete on a U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team. Karyn Bye (’93), Colleen Coyne (’93) Tricia Dunn (’96) and Sue Merz (’94) all skated for the 1998 gold-medal team that was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. Bye and Merz also skated on the 2002 Olympic team, while Dunn competed again in both ’02 and ’06. 

Stone, who is the first woman to lead a U.S. Olympic women’s ice hockey team, was a four-year letter winner in both lacrosse and ice hockey at UNH. She was a member of the 1985 national championship team in lacrosse, a two-time All-American, and team captain in 1989. In ice hockey, Stone captained her team in 1989, and her team won the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship in 1986 and 1987.

Stone went on to coach Harvard University’s women’s ice hockey team and is the winningest coach in the history of Division I women’s ice hockey with 402 wins in 19 seasons. Her resume includes nine NCAA tournament appearances, including five trips to the Frozen Four, and the 1999 AWCHA national championship. 

Stone led the U.S. national team to a gold medal at the Four Nations Cup and a silver medal at the International Ice Hockey Women’s World Championships in 2009. She was named the United States College Hockey Online Coach of the Year in 2004-05 and is president of the American Women’s Hockey Coaches Association.

Smith was the 2006 Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Female Rookie Skier of the Year and an All-East First Team selection as a freshman alpine skier at UNH. She helped UNH to ninth place at the 2006 NCAA Ski Championship with an 11th-place finish in the giant slalom. Highlights of her only season at UNH included winning the giant slalom at the Dartmouth Winter Carnival and seven other top-10 finishes, including fourth place in the giant slalom and sixth in the slalom at the EISA Championship. Smith was the top Wildcat in both EISA races. Following the 2006 season, Smith left UNH to train with the U.S. SKi Team Development Group.

Smith was the 2010 U.S. downhill champion. In 2011, she placed 19th in the super G at the World Championships. One year later at the World Cup in Schladming, Austria, Smith was fifth in the super G and then she was the downhill silver medalist in the World Cup at Val d'Isere, France. In 2013, she was a downhill bronze medalist at the World Cup in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.

Smith is the eighth UNH skier to become an Olympian. Ed Blood was the first to achieve that accomplishment in 1932 and he competed again in ’36. Marty Hall was named to five Olympic teams (1972, ’76, ’84, ’88 and ’92) and Robel Teklemariam was the most recent Olympian (2006).

UNH’s other Olympians were Peter Dascoulias (1976), Kelly Milligan (1984), Patty Ross (1984) and Patrick Weaver (1998, 2002).

Smith, Stone, Bellamy and van Riemsdyk will travel to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Games that take place Feb. 7-23. The women’s team begins play Feb. 8 vs. Finland while the men’s first game is Feb. 13 against Slovakia.

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