UND alumni — 12 in all — can hold their heads high after strong Olympic performances


David L. Dodds

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UND alumni — 12 in all — can hold their heads high after strong Olympic performances

The run by University of North Dakota student-athletes and alumni through the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi could be summed up as pure gold!

That's especially true for two former UND hockey standouts from North of the Border: Jonathan Toews and Brad Pascall.

Toews capped off an amazing Olympic campaign for Hockey Canada's men's hockey team by scoring the game-winning goal in his team's shut-out victory over Sweden in the gold-medal match on Sunday.

Toews played at UND from 2005-2007 before starting an all-star career as a pro with the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL.

The Canadian men's team equaled the achievement of that nation's women's squad, which also struck gold at the Olympics last Thursday, after an incredible come-back victory over the American women.

Pascall, the other UND alumnus involved with Hockey Canada, played an instrumental role in building both of Canada's men's and women's hockey teams in his position as vice president of hockey operations.

Pascall played hockey at UND from 1988-1992.

Including Pascall and Toews, UND had 12 current students and alumni competing or serving as support staff for Olympic teams from four nations at this year's Olympic Games. They competed on teams from the USA, Canada, Finland and Germany. Of the 88 countries represented at the Games, UND had more alumni competing and serving on teams than 53 of those nations have total athletes.

This year's Team USA delegation, alone, comprised 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.

Current UND women's hockey player from Finland, Michelle Karvinen, also made a big name for herself in the Sochi Olympics. She led all other women hockey players in points at this year's Olympics with seven (5 goals and 2 assists). For her efforts, Karvinen received the Directorate Award as the best forward at the Olympic Games.

Toews and Karvinen's exploits on the ice were in addition to the heroics that another UND alumnus, T.J. Oshie, created a week earlier.

As has been well documented, Oshie became an instant sensation across the United States and persona non grata among Russians after he broke that nation's heart in a sizzling shoot-out performance on Feb. 15. Oshie shot four of six pucks past the Russian goalie to snatch victory in the tense battle, and in the process, he became the biggest trending name in the global media for the next 48 hours, even garnering a hearty congrats from the President of the United States.

Oshie, now with the St. Louis Blues, played on Team USA's men's hockey team with former UND hockey star and current Minnesota Wild forward, Zach Parise, who was the American squad's captain.

On the women's side, UND alumnae Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux also had a strong Olympic tournament on the ice as they were among their team's leaders in goals and assists, respectively.

Team USA's women lost a thrilling and heart-breaking overtime game to the Canadians, settling for a silver medal for the second Olympics in a row. However, if there was a silver lining, the Lamoureuxs, identical twin sisters from Grand Forks, became the first native North Dakotans to earn two Olympic medals.

The 2014 Winter Olympics concluded with its closing ceremony on Sunday.

Here's a complete rundown of UND alumni who were at 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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