Zach Parise Named Captain Of Team USA Heading Into 2014 Sochi Olympics

Zach Parise will serve as captain of Team USA when they compete in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, the team announced Friday.

The Minnesota Wild left winger has considerable experience wearing the “C” and some firsthand knowledge of one of the NHL’s long-serving captains. Parise had a locker stall next to New Jersey Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner and served as an alternate captain to Langenbrunner at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Parise said he learned by example how to be a good captain.

“(Langenbrunner) was not an overly vocal guy in the locker room,” Parise said. “But you know he was going to play hard and play the right way every game, and he leads by example.”

Now, it is time for Zach Parise to step into the spotlight, said Team USA coach Dan Bylsma.

“When it comes to a captaincy, you are looking for people who embody who you are and how you want to play,” Bylsma said. “I can’t think of a better group or better captain than Zach Parise to lead our team.”

The 29-year-old Parise has been red hot on the ice lately. In the last two games he has seven total points (three goals, four assists) and netted the game-winning goal against the Anaheim Ducks.

Zach Parise will join a familiar group. There are 13 players returning from the 2010 Olympics, including starting goaltender Ryan MIller.

Parise himself was a critical piece in 2010, scoring the game-tying goal in the gold medal game against Canada. The Americans would go on to lose in overtime.

“It’s a special thing to be named captain of any team,” Parise said. “But when it’s a national and it’s an Olympic team, it’s extra special.”

Left wing Dustin Brown (Los Angeles Kings) and defenseman Ryan Suter (Minnesota) were named alternate captains to Zach Parise. Team USA will head to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi in mid February.