Dec. 27, 2005
One small step for defenseman Helen Resor '08 (Greenwich, Conn.), one giant leap for Yale women's hockey.
The Bulldogs finally have an Olympian to call their own after Resor was one of 20 players introduced as part of Team USA's roster for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games Tuesday afternoon. The team was formally announced at a ceremony at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.
The final roster selection comes after 16 games spanning three months on the Hilton Family Skate to 2006 tour for Team USA. Twenty-four players (21 skaters and three goaltenders) appeared in games for the U.S. during the course of the tour. Though they were not announced publicly, the final cuts were made following the team's game against Finland at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, N.J. Dec. 18. Resor and the rest of the players were called into a room and the roster was read by head coach Ben Smith.
"It was very nerve-wracking," Resor said. "There were definitely times [during the tour], such as when we changed our forecheck, that I felt I fit in to what we were doing better and I could see myself going to the Olympics. But it never actually felt real. I don't think it's really hit me."
Resor, whose time with Team USA started with a gold medal at the World Championship in Sweden last April, has appeared in all 16 games for the U.S. on the tour and has one assist. Team USA is 11-5, including 9-1 in official tour events, entering Friday night's game against Canada at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. The U.S. and Canada will also meet on Jan. 1 in Winnipeg.
Team USA will train at Lake Placid, N.Y., and Cromwell, Conn., in January before departing for Torino, Italy, in February. The opening ceremony for the Olympics takes place Feb. 10, and the first game for the U.S. is Feb. 11. The gold medal and bronze medal games take place on Feb. 20.
"We're looking forward to bringing this group of 20 athletes together to make the final push," said Smith. "As Americans we all know what the objective is and this group of athletes gives us the best chance of accomplishing that goal."
The U.S. has won gold in the Olympics once (1998 in Nagano, Japan). Most recently, the U.S. took silver in 2002 in Salt Lake City after a 3-2 loss to Canada in the gold medal game.
In Torino, the U.S. (2) is part of "Group B," which includes Finland (3), Germany (6) and Switzerland (7). Group A includes Canada (1), Sweden (4), Russia (5) and Italy (8). Teams in the same group play each other once between Feb. 11 and Feb. 14. The playoff round starts Friday Feb. 17.
Resor, who had seven goals and 11 assists for the Bulldogs last year despite missing eight games with an injury, is a member of the Class of 2008 but is taking a year off to be with Team USA. Her sister Jane `01 played for Yale and her cousins Carry Resor '09 (Westwood, Mass.) and Nina Resor '07 (Westwood, Mass.) are currently on the team. Resor's father Stan and her brother Charlie are Yale graduates as well, and two other cousins attend Yale but do not play hockey.
Resor's selection to the Olympic Team represents a significant milestone for the Bulldogs. Two Yale alums (Laurie Belliveau '98 in 1999 and Maria Dennis '88 in 1990) played on the U.S. National Team in the World Championship, but not in the Olympics.
Resor's connection with the current Yale team remains strong despite the fact that she is not officially on the roster. The bond was clear when she was asked whether anyone in particular at Yale helped her get to a point where she could make the Olympic Team roster.
"My whole team," she said. "There's no way I would be here without them. I love those girls so much - I still feel like I'm on the team, and I follow everything that happens with them."
Resor still has a locker at Ingalls Rink, and during breaks from her training with Team USA she has been able to take part in Yale practices.
"They were really nice in letting me practice with the [Yale] team," Resor said. "That was great training for me. I was also able to lift with the new weight coaches, who are great. That really helped me."
Resor also benefited from the experience of Yale head coach Hilary Witt, who played for the U.S. National Team in 2000-01.
"Coach Witt has really helped," Resor said. "She's played for Coach Smith, so she knows what he's looking for."
Team USA's staff includes two former Yale men's hockey assistants who worked under current Bulldog coach Tim Taylor - Smith and assistant coach Mike Gilligan. The U.S. also has Yale equipment manager Ed Maturo.
And now, officially, the roster has a Bulldog player on it as well.
Team USA Olympic schedule
Friday, Feb. 10 Opening Ceremony
Saturday, Feb. 11 6:00 p.m. Torino time (12:00 p.m. Eastern) USA vs. Switzerland
Sunday, Feb. 12 7:00 p.m. Torino time (1:00 p.m. Eastern) USA vs. Germany
Tuesday, Feb. 14 8:30 p.m. Torino time (2:30 p.m. Eastern) USA vs. Finland
Friday, Feb. 17 TBD playoffs
Monday, Feb. 20 TBD playoffs (4:30 p.m./8:30 p.m. Torino time (10:20 a.m./2:30 p.m Eastern) Bronze/Gold Medal Game)
Sunday, Feb. 26 Closing Ceremony
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity