The NHL Winter Classic has become a New Year's Day staple in the homes of sports fans everywhere.
With the Olympic Games just around the corner, USA Hockey added just one more reason for Americans to tune in as they unveiled both the men's and women's rosters during NBC's broadcast from Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug was left off the roster, but multiple players with New England ties did get the call.
Leading the way is Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick (Hamden, Conn.), who was also part of the 2010 Olympic squad. The UMass alum won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP as a member of the Kings' 2012 title-winning team.
This year's roster, selected by Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, a Northeastern University alum, includes 13 players with prior Olympic experience.
"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," Poile said in a statement released by USA Hockey on Wednesday afternoon. "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."
A three-year stalwart on the Boston University blue line, Kevin Shattenkirk of the St. Louis Blues was selected to his first Olympic team, along with Montreal forward and Nutmeg State product Max Pacioretty (New Canaan, Conn.).
A former member of Shattenkirk's bitter rival Boston College Eagles also makes his return to the Olympic Games in Pittsburgh Penguin defender Brooks Orpik, after playing on the 2010 team that won a silver medal in Vancouver.
A pair of Winter Classic participants, though New Yorkers, also highlighted the group with local ties -- former University of Maine goaltender Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings and University of New Hampshire product James van Reimsdyk of the victorious Toronto Maple Leafs.
On the women's side, the team will feature a great Boston area flavor starting from the top all the way down. The 25-player squad will feature 11 with prior Olympic experience.
Harvard University legend Katey Stone (Arlington, Mass.) will coach the team, while her captain is local native and University of Wisconsin alumnus Meghan Duggan (Danvers, Mass.).
The head of the team's 11 Olympic veterans is Crimson product Julie Chu (Fairfield, Conn.), who will be competing in her fourth Olympics since debuting in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
"Today is an important day for our team and we're thrilled to continue our journey toward Sochi," Stone said. "We have a good blend of veterans and first-time Olympians and we're excited about what lies ahead. We're enthusiastic about our team and focused on getting better every day."
The roster was selected from the 25 players who made up the 2013-14 U.S. Women's National Team. 18 of the 21 named to the final roster captured a gold medal during the IIHF Women's World Championship this past April.
The group has also been practicing and training locally since early September 2013, at the Edge Sports Center in Bedford, Mass., and Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn.
Three current Crimson were named to the squad in defensemen Michelle Picard (Taunton, Mass.) and Josephine Pucci and speedy forward Lyndsey Fry, while two-year Northeastern Husky forward was also named to the team for the first time in her career. UNH product Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.), a silver-medal winner with the U.S. at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, will be a key cog on defense.
With Katie King Crowley (Salem, N.H.) continuing to serve at the helm of the Boston College program, the team was sure to have its share of Eagles and this year will be no different.
Molly Schaus (Natick, Mass.) will serve as the backbone of the squad for a second time in goal, while Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) and Kelli Stack will be potent on the attack. Carpenter is the second-youngest player on the team, just ten days older than Minnesota defenseman Lee Stecklein, who was a freshman on the Gopher team that finished last season as undefeated national champions.