Three former Yalies picked for U.S. Olympic hockey team
By Chip MalafronteUpdated
NEW HAVEN — The U.S. Olympic hockey coaching staff has seen its share of Yale representation over the years. The late Tim Taylor coached the 1994 team; current coach Keith Allain is in the midst of his third stint as an assistant.
The last time a Yale man made the Olympic roster was 34 years ago, when Bob Brooke skated for Team USA at the 1984 Games in Sarajevo.
There’ll be plenty of Yale representation on U.S. roster when the Olympic hockey tournament begins on Feb. 14 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Milford’s Mark Arcobello, Brian O’Neill and Broc Little, forwards and teammates at Yale from 2008-10, were named to the team on Monday, the announcement coming during the second intermission at the NHL’s Winter Classic at Citi Field in New York.
Other notables on the roster are Ted Donato, a junior forward at Harvard, former Harvard defenseman Noah Welch and Brian Gionta, a Stanley Cup winner with the Devils in 2003 who’ll serve as team captain.
The National Hockey League declined to provide players for the first time in 23 years, a boycott that includes those in the AHL on two-way contracts. So the U.S. roster is mostly comprised of Americans playing professionally abroad. There are also four current college players. Boston University’s Jordan Greenway, St. Cloud State’s Will Borgen and Denver’s Troy Terry join Donato.
Arcobello, O’Neill and Little played together on the top U.S. line at the Deutschland Cup in Germany, a pre-Olympic tuneup in November. Arcobello had a goal and an assist and Little a goal during the tournament.
Greenwich’s Sean Backman, a 2010 Yale graduate playing in the German pro league, was on the U.S. roster for the Deutschland Cup but did not make the final cut.
Arcobello played at Fairfield Prep and was a second-team All-American at Yale as a junior in 2009. He spent parts of six seasons in the NHL before joining Bern of the Swiss National League in 2016.
O’Neill, a native of Yardley, Pennsylvania, graduated in 2012 as Yale’s second all-time leading scorer with 163 points. In 2015, he won an AHL championship with Manchester and was named league MVP. He played in 22 NHL games for New Jersey before joining Jokerit, a Finnish-based franchise in Russia’s KHL.
Little, now living in Phoenix, was a second-team All-American in 2010 and graduated as Yale’s seventh all-time leading scorer with 143 points. He’s been in Europe almost exclusively since leaving New Haven, leading the Swedish pro league in scoring in 2015. He’s now with HC Davos of the Swiss League.
The only U.S. Olympic team with more Yale representation was the 1932 team, which featured five former Bulldogs: Franklin “Tot” Farrell, John Cookman, Frank Nelson, John Bent and Ding Palmer.
There were two on the 1948 squad: Terry Von Ingen and Fred Pearson. Jack Morrison was on the 1968 team while Brooke skated for his Yale coach, Taylor, an assistant in 1984.