The United States has found its Captain America for the Sochi Olympics.
Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise has been given the honour by USA Hockey after serving as one of four alternate captains at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, a side captained by the recently-retired Jamie Langenbrunner.
Parise was named an all-star in Vancouver by the media, leading the Americans four goals and eight points during the tournament. Most notably, Parise scored the game-tying goal against Canada to send the gold-medal game to overtime.
The Minneapolis native has long been one of the most respected players in the NHL, not only for his skills offensively, but for his dedication to the game and his teammates. Parise has also been a leader wherever he’s played, having previously captained the New Jersey Devils before becoming an alternate captain with the Wild.
Sochi will be Parise’s second Olympics, and eighth tournament overall wearing the red, white, and blue, having also competed in a World Under-18 Championship, two World Junior Hockey Championships, and three IIHF World Championships.
Wild teammate Ryan Suter was named an alternate captain for Team USA, as was Dustin Brown, captain of the Los Angeles Kings. Like Parise, both Suter and Brown were alternate captains in Vancouver, so the leadership group brings Olympic experience to the table.
Parise, Suter, and Brown are among 13 players returning from the 2010 squad.