The NHL backing out of the Olympics meant a select few non-NHL players were going to get the opportunity of a lifetime this February.
We now know which players will be getting that opportunity for the United States, as USA Hockey announced its 25-man men's Olympic team on Thursday.
There is plenty of local flavor, including three former Bruins, a current Providence Bruin, five Massachusetts natives, and four players currently playing college hockey in Boston.
Defenseman Steven Kampfer, who played parts of five seasons with the Bruins, highlights the list of ex-B's. David Warsofsky, a Marshfield native and Boston University alum who played 10 games for the Bruins from 2013-15, joins him on the blue line, as does current P-Bruins defenseman Aaron Ness. Forward Kenny Agostino, a Yale alum who played five games with the Bruins 2017-18, rounds out the Bruins connections.
A total of 15 current NCAA players are on the team, as USA Hockey opted to skew younger than it did with the 2018 team. Hingham native Matty Beniers, a University of Michigan sophomore who was drafted second overall by Seattle last summer, is arguably the biggest name in the group.
Forward Marc McLaughlin, a Billerica native and senior captain at Boston College, made the team and will be playing in his first international tournament. McLaughlin is undrafted and will be a free agent after BC's season concludes. He participated in Bruins development camp this past summer.
Harvard forwards Nick Abruzzese (a junior from New York) and Sean Farrell (a freshman from Hopkinton) join McLaughlin in the forward group. Abruzzese was a fourth-round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2019, while Farrell was a fourth-round pick of the Canadiens in 2020.
In net, Norwell native and Boston University sophomore Drew Commesso is one of the team's three goalies. Commesso, a Blackhawks second-round pick, was Team USA's starting goalie in this year's World Junior Championship before that tournament was ultimately canceled because of COVID-19.
Former BU and New York Rangers coach David Quinn is the head coach for Team USA.
The United States' group stage schedule is as follows:
-Thursday, Feb. 10 vs. China, 8:10 a.m. ET
-Friday, Feb. 11 vs. Canada, 11:10 p.m. ET
-Sunday, Feb. 13 vs. Germany, 8:10 a.m. ET
In other Bruins-related Olympic news, David Krejci was unsurprisingly named to the Czech team on Thursday. You could argue he'll be the best player in Beijing.