Sophomore hockey player stars on Team USA
Every hockey player dreams of representing their country and playing for a gold medal in the Olympics. To be able to step onto the ice wearing the Red, White, and Blue. This past January, sophomore Jack Glover got the chance to realize that dream. Glover, one of 17 hockey players who played for the US Under-16 hockey team, played in Europe and competed in the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Austria.
The journey toward Austria began after Glover participated in the Select 15 camp in St. Cloud last July. “From there about 15 guys got picked to go to the National Camp in Rochester, New York. Out there were all the best kids in the United States, and there were about 12 teams. The best kids were picked for the team from there,” said Glover.
Being named a part of this highly esteemed team was an unbelievable experience for Glover, and he accepted the privilege eagerly. “I felt so honored as soon as I got the call. I was just really excited to go overseas and represent my country,” said Glover.
From there, it was off to Innsbruck, Austria and the Youth Olympic Winter Games. “[Austria] was almost indescribable. The atmosphere around the athlete’s village and at the games was unbelievable. Also, the whole Olympic feel and international exposure made it that much better,” said Glover.
The atmosphere continued onto the ice when the Winter Youth Olympics got underway. “It was great. There were about 1,500 people at each game and the arena had a great atmosphere. The competition was great as well because the players were so skilled, and the games were just really fun to play in,” said Glover.
Ben Smith, a gold medal winning coach for the US womens’ 1998 Olympic team, coached the US U-16 team throughout the Winter Youth Olympics. “It was an honor to be able to play for him while I did, and he really brought a lot of knowledge and experience to help our team,” said Glover.
The U.S.’s toughest test came against Finland, a country known for producing some of the NHL’s most talented players. “The game was so intense. There were a lot of lead changes throughout the game, and it really was a battle to the end. The atmosphere was great as well because it was really our only game where we had more fans than the other team. [The atmosphere] was usually pretty hostile towards us, and it was a lot of fun,” said Glover.
Although the US ended up losing to Canada in the Bronze Medal game 7-5, the experience will remain one of the most memorable of Glover’s life. “Being able to play for my country for the first time, wearing the USA crest on my jersey, against the best players in the world was something I’ll never forget,” said Glover.