The 2018 Winter Olympics have started in PyeongChang, South Korea and hundreds of athletes have traveled near and far to represent their home countries in their respective sports. One Olympic dream is now a reality for Brian Gionta.
Gionta is a 15-year veteran of the NHL and is realizing his Olympic dream, representing the US in men’s hockey. On top of representing his country, Gionta was names named team captain of team USA.
Gionta was born January 18, 1979, in Rochester, NY, where he was raised and still currently resides. Gionta played college hockey at Boston College, where he played four seasons for the Eagles.
Gionta was drafted in 1998 by the New Jersey Devils and made his NHL debut in the 2001-02 season for the Devils. Gionta played for the Devils for seven seasons, winning a Stanley Cup in 2003. Following the 2008-09 season, Gionta joined the Montreal Canadiens, where he played five seasons. He was named team captain, becoming the second American player ever to be named captain of the Canadiens. After his stint in Montreal, Gionta came home to Western New York, signing a three-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres. In his first season with the Sabres, he was named team captain. Gionta held that role until the end of his contract in 2017.
Gionta’s career stats in the NHL are compiled of 1,006 games played, 289 goals, 299 assists, 588 points and 375 penalty minutes.
Gionta is no stranger to international play, playing 13 games in the World Juniors tournament in 1998 and 1999. Gionta tallied 13 goals, eight assists and 19 points in that span.
Gionta has also represented the US in three World Championship and his only other Olympics appearance in the 2006 games, which resulted in an eighth-place finish for team USA. Gionta’s stats in those appearances have seen him produce 10 goals, two assists, 12 points in 29 games.
With a team comprised of good, young talent and experienced veterans, Gionta will look to add an Olympic Gold medal to his resume. Team USA is locked and loaded to show the world that the US is a force to be reckoned with.
Team USA is in group B along with Slovenia, Slovakia and Olympic Athletes from Russia. The Russian Federation was banned from the Olympic games due to doping. Some Russian athletes will be allowed to play under a neutral flag but their medal count will not count for the Russian Federation.
Team USA opens up round-robin group play on February 14th, against Slovenia.