Chu headlines U.S. women's ice hockey team

Wed Jan 1, 2014 4:44pm EST
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ANN ARBOR, Michigan (Reuters) - Veteran forward Julie Chu headlined the roster for the United States women's ice hockey team for the Sochi Olympics announced on Wednesday.

Chu, named to her fourth Winter Games squad, will be one of 11 returning Olympians as the U.S. looks to avenge a loss to Canada in the gold medal final at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

"Today is an important day for our team and we're thrilled to continue our journey toward Sochi," said Katey Stone, head coach for Team USA. "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."

All 21 U.S. team members are world champions.

Women's ice hockey joined the Olympic program in 1998 Nagano Winter Games, the U.S. claiming the first gold medal but Canada has swept the top spot the last three Olympic tournaments.

The U.S. and Canada, who between them have won every Olympic gold medal and every world championship, remain women's ice hockey super powers and bitter rivals, two of their pre-Sochi meetings ending in brawls.

The Americans open Olympic play on February 8 against Finland.

The U.S. men's squad will be announced later on Wednesday following the NHL Outdoor Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.   Continued...

Olympic hockey player Julie Chu poses for a portrait during the 2013 U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit in Park City, Utah October 2, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson