Alumni making a strong showing so far at the Winter Games in Sochi, with more to come


David L. Dodds

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Alumni making a strong showing so far at the Winter Games in Sochi, with more to come

After nearly a week of competition at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, University of North Dakota alumni are playing important roles for their respective teams.

UND has 12 current students and alumni competing or serving as support staff for Olympic teams from four nations this year: USA, Canada, Finland and Germany. According to Brad Schlossman, hockey writer extraordinaire for the Grand Forks Herald, of the 88 countries in this year's Winter Games, UND has more alumni competing and serving on teams than 53 of those nations have total athletes.

And the UND folks aren't just holding down roster spots, they're making a difference.

Women's hockey is the sport in which most of UND's athletes are competing. There are six in that sport alone.

The Lamoureux twin sisters, Jocelyne and Monique, are among the leading scorers for Team USA as the they head into the all-important medal round games. Monique has two goals and Jocelyne has three assists through three games.

For Team Finland, current UND hockey star Michelle Karvinen was the second-leading scorer in women's hockey at the Olympics. Through three games, as of Wednesday, she has two goals and two assists, after a three-point game against Switzerland. Karvinen and fellow UND teammate Susanna Tapani (1 goal, 2 assists) were the first and second stars for Team Finland in its early tournament contest against the Americans. Tapani scored the lone goal for Finland in a 3-1 victory for Team USA. Karvinen had the assist on Tapani's goal.

UND alum Max Markowitz also is serving as a video coach for Team Finland.

Also on the German women's teams, current UND player Tanja Eisenschmid continues to make a name for herself as a young up-and-comer on the world stage, alongside former UND hockey player Susanne Fellner.

The mens' Olympic ice hockey tournament will get underway on Friday and will feature three prominent UND alumni in Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild), TJ Oshie (St. Louis Blues), with Team USA, and Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks) for Team Canada. Parise recently was named Team USA captain and will likely skate on a line with Oshie, who is having a sensational season this year with the Blues.

Besides Toews, UND's other alum on Team Canada is its Director of Hockey Operations Brad Pascall, who you used to skate for UND as a player.

Keeping busy with the Team USA Slope Style Ski Team is UND alumnus Jason Switzer, who is contracted as an athletic trainer. During these Winter Games, the slope style team has been both extremely successful and hard-hit by significant injuries, including one to Heidi Kloser, who was hurt in competition before the Olympic flame was even lit. Undeterred, Kloser hobbled on crutches aside the rest of her USA teammates in the opening ceremonies.

This year's Team USA delegation, alone, comprises five UND alumni, the most ever to wear the red white and blue at a single Olympic Games. The 2010 U.S. Winter Olympic Team had four UND alumni, and the 1956 U.S. team had three, with Dan McKinnon, Gordy Christian and Ken Purpur winning the silver medal as hockey players.

So for UND fans there's plenty of reasons to tune in and watch this year's Winter Olympics. You just might see someone you know!

The 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi will run until Feb. 23

Here's a complete rundown of UND alumni who are headed to this year's Winter Games:

Team USA:

Zach Parise, ice hockey playerT.J. Oshie, ice hockey playerMonique Lamoureux, ice hockey playerJocelyne Lamoureux, ice hockey playerJason Switzer, slope style snowboarding athletic trainer

Team Canada:

Jonathan Toews, ice hockey playerBrad Pascall, vice president for hockey operations for Hockey Canada

Team Finland:

Michelle Karvinen, ice hockey playerSusanna Tapani, ice hockey playerMax Markowitz, video coach

Team Germany:

Tanja Eisenschmid, ice hockey playerSusanne Fellner, ice hockey player

David Dodds University & Public Affairs writer

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