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Thursday 17 April 2014

USA Hockey accidentally tells 67-year-old Canadian he could make Sochi Winter Olympics team

Man says ‘I’d be happy to play for you’

Action during the second period of the Winter Classic outdoor NHL hockey match, where Team USA announced their squad for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
Action during the second period of the Winter Classic outdoor NHL hockey match, where Team USA announced their squad for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi

USA Hockey announced its squad for the Winter Olympics in Sochi yesterday – and accidentally almost included a surprise pick with a wealth of experience.

The roster was revealed at the National Hockey League (NHL) Winter Classic match at a stadium in Michigan, but Team USA had planned to text each high-profile player to let them know they were in contention for a place on the plane to Russia.

Director of hockey operations Jim Johansson and the rest of his staff set to messaging the list of stars, and intended to contact the Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler, but received an unlikely reply from his number.

It read: “I'm a 67 year old Canadian in Vancouver, (but) I'd be happy to play for you.”

The exchange was reported by The Sports Network’s hockey commentator Gord Miller, who said Kesler had changed his number, but apparently forgot to inform Team USA.

The recipient of the text added: “I think Canada would be even happier if I player for you,” Miller said, much to the amusement of the USA Hockey officials.

When the actual roster was announced, Kesler was confirmed to have made the cut in the end – but there was no space for the unlikely veteran.

David Poile, the team’s general manager, said: “We're fortunate to have probably the deepest talent pool we've ever had in our country and that made for some very difficult decisions.

“In the end, however, we're confident we've selected a group of players that puts us in the best position to have success in Sochi.”

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