China host has finalized its roster for the Beijing Olympics men’s hockey tournament, which includes a dozen players from North America.
American Jeremy Smith is expected to be China’s starter in goal. Other American players on the roster include defenseman Jake Chelios and forward Cory Kane.
Canadian Brandon Yip, of Chinese descent, was also named to the team after captaining the Kunlun Red Star in the Russia-based KHL, which served as a proxy for the Chinese national team. Defenders Ryan Sproul, Ty Schultz and Jason Fram, forwards Spencer Foo, Parker Foo, Ethan Werek, Tyler Wong and Luke Lockhart and goaltender Paris O’Brien are the other Canadians on the roster.
Arizona State University’s Peter Zhong, who was born in Beijing and started playing hockey in the United States, is one of the youngest players on the team. Eddie Yan was born in Toronto and has played for China in Under-20 tournaments for the past few years.
There are eight Chinese players on the 25-man roster: forwards Jianing Guo, Xudong Xiang, Rudy Ying and Zesen Zhang, defenders Zimeng Chen, Ruinan Yan, Pengfei Zhang and goalkeeper Pengfei Han.
Defender Denis Osipov is the only Russian player.
China’s list had been a question for months, especially when the plan was to bring in NHL players. The International Ice Hockey Federation decided last fall to keep China in the tournament because the team’s level of competition was deemed sufficient.
In addition to Chinese citizens, IIHF rules allow players to naturalize by moving there and playing for the national team for two or more years.
The players arrived at the Olympic Village on Thursday and are due to train on Friday. The tournament begins on February 9.
China starts against the United States on February 10 and faces Germany on February 12 and Canada on February 13.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.