Garrett Roe was quickly very good at hockey.
“When we first started coaching him, you could tell he had that extra little sense for the game,” said his father, his first coach and founder of the Reston Raiders hockey club. “Some players have a sense for the game. Some players are talented. Some players have both, and that’s Garrett.”
It led him to seven seasons of professional hockey from the American Hockey League, the NHL’s farm teams, to overseas clubs in Austria, Germany, Sweden and now Switzerland, where he plays for EV Zug and leads the team in points.
This week, it landed him on the U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team set to play in PyeongChang, South Korea, next month.
The NHL in 2017 said its players would not participate in the Games, which conflict with the heart of the league’s regular season schedule. That meant players from across the world in lesser professional leagues had a chance to suit up for their home nations in place of the stars who usually skate for world hockey juggernauts.
The American team is composed of former NHLer Brian Gionta, four college players, three from the AHL and 15 playing in professional leagues across Europe, including Roe.
“We really like our roster,” USA Hockey General Manager Jim Johannson said after unveiling the group Monday. “It’s a group that brings versatility and experience and includes players who have a lot of passion about representing our country.”
The Roe family is certainly excited, Larry said. They’ve already made travel arrangements to go to South Korea for the hockey tournament, which for the U.S. begins against Slovenia on Feb. 14 at 7:10 a.m. EST.