The news that NHL players wouldn’t be going to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing rocked the hockey world a few weeks ago. The United States is among the countries that are now looking for other options, including prospects, overseas players, and former NHLers.
As disappointing as it is to not have NHLers at the Olympics, it opens the door for some young players to get a chance to play for their country. Everyone loves a good underdog story, right?
While there will be no Philadelphia Flyers players in the Olympics, there may be a few Flyers prospects.
Frank Seravalli tweeted out a list of 15 players that reportedly have been invited to play for Team USA at the Olympics. There are a few familiar names on that list.
NEWS: Reporting with @chrismpeters, team and league sources tell @DailyFaceoff these 15 players have been invited to play for Team USA at #Beijing2022 Olympics.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 6, 2022
List is still fluid, not all have confirmed participation, and @USAHockey is actively adding others. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/jAdBFDawZO
First and foremost is Noah Cates. Noah is the younger brother of current Flyer Jackson Cates. The younger Cates was drafted by the Flyers in the fifth round (137th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. He is currently in his senior year at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and his second season as the Bulldogs captain.
Another player with Flyers ties is Andy Miele. Miele wore the “A” for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the 2016-17 season. He had 57 points (13 goals, 44 assists) in 65 games that year. He’s mostly played overseas since then with the 2019-20 season spent in the AHL with the Tucson Roadrunners.
But let’s get back to the main story here: Noah Cates.
Cates, 22, spent his first post-draft season with the Omaha Lancers in the USHL, putting up 55 points (21 goals, 34 assists) in 60 games. He then went the collegiate route where he’s found success at UMD.
During his freshman year, when he recorded 23 points in 40 games, Cates was a member of Team USA’s World Juniors team. He scored one goal and had two assists in seven games as Team USA took silver in the tournament.
This season, Cates has 14 points in 20 games. He now has 89 points (34 goals, 55 assists) in 122 career NCAA games.
This list still isn’t finalized, but it’s exciting to see young players (including a Flyers prospect) getting a chance here. Cates has plenty of NCAA experience and that may be able to translate to the Olympic stage.