Pekley, Gunderson named to U.S. Olympic teams

Monday, January 1st

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Former UVM hockey standouts Ryan Gunderson '07 and Amanda Pelkey '15 have officially been named to the United States Olympic men's and women's hockey teams, as announced by USA Hockey on Monday.

Gunderson and Pelkey were two of 46 men's and women's­ hockey players selected to Team USA for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, in February. Nearly 95 percent of the U.S. skaters competed collegiately at 18 different institutions.

Gunderson is the fourth former men's Catamount to make the U.S. Olympic roster and the first since Tim Thomas in 2010. The Pennsylvania native was brought to UVM as a walk-on but became the all-time leader in games played among Vermont defensemen with 148 during his four-year career from 2003-07. He finished his NCAA career with 61 points as he posted at least 14 points in all four seasons.

"I could not be happier for Ryan and his family," said UVM men's head coach Kevin Sneddon. "This is an amazing story of perseverance and determination. One of the all-time great UVM defensemen, he certainly deserves this opportunity. We will be watching Olympic hockey even closer now."

After graduation, Gunderson went on to play four years of professional hockey domestically in the ECHL and AHL before spending the last eight seasons in Europe. He played a pair of seasons in the KHL with Jokerit Helsinki and Minsk Dynamo, posting a combined 63 points from the blueline. Gunderson has also played two separate stints with Brynas IF Gavle in the Swedish Hockey League, where he currently ranks second on the team in scoring.

On the women's side, Pelkey becomes the first Catamount ever to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Women's Hockey Team. She has competed in the annual Four Nations Cup with the U.S. National Team for the past four years, winning gold the past three years. Pelkey was also named to the previous two IIHF World Championship teams, winning gold with Team USA in both events.

"This is such a proud day for Amanda," said Vermont women's head coach Jim Plumer. "She has worked so hard on her game since I've known her and she has earned this long-time goal. It's also special for UVM women's hockey to celebrate with her as our first Team USA Olympian. We are excited for the Games in February."

Pelkey is Vermont's all-time program leader in points (105), goals (49), and assists (56). The Montpelier native also holds the highest goal (21) and point (40) totals in a single season, both set during the 2013-14 campaign. On March 2, 2013, Pelkey scored Vermont's first Division I playoff goal against Northeastern.

In the professional ranks, Pelkey became the first member of the NWHL's Boston Pride prior to the 2015-16 inaugural season. She has seven points in 17 games this season with the Pride.

The Winter Olympics kick off in South Korea on February 9 and will conclude on February 25. Hockey competition will be held at the Kwandong Hockey Centre and the Gangneung Hockey Centre. The U.S. women begin competition on February 11, while the gold-medal game will be February 22. The U.S. men begin competition February 14 with the gold-medal game on February 25.

--- Courtesy: UVM Sports Information