Brian Cooper selected to 2022 USA Olympic hockey team
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Dimond High School product Brian Cooper has been named to the 2022 USA Olympic hockey team.
Cooper spent several years in the American Hockey League and the East Coast Hockey League before ending up in Sweden where he now plays for Oskarshamn IK. Brian Cooper has had a very successful hockey career but never gotten a big break leading to a spot on a National Hockey League roster. However, being named to the U.S. Olympic Hockey team may help change that.
“It is kind of a once in a life time opportunity because you know without COVID the NHL probably would have gone to this Olympics,” Cooper said. “It is just, take it one step at a time and enjoy it you know. I’m trying to approach it a little bit as just any other hockey experience, but just to minimize maybe the butterflies and anxiety that come with it, but at the same time you’ve got to take a step back and enjoy it too, so I can actually remember it 20 years down the road and the experience and share the stories with other people.”
Initially, the NHL announced last month that they weren’t allowing their players to compete in the Olympics. Cooper had heard that team USA was going to go with college players, meaning he wouldn’t be able to make the roster. However, his wife told him to keep pushing, which lead to Cooper emailing his agent more video and stats. Cooper sent that over on a Saturday and by Sunday he was told that he had made the team.
“It was just kind of like a whirlwind of about four days of being let down and then kind of like just sitting in that little limbo of maybe it will be real, maybe it wont be, and then just kind of the relief of him saying congrats” Cooper said.
Cooper called his parents who are staples in the Anchorage hockey community. While his family was ecstatic to learn the good news, they had to keep it quiet until it was made official, which is easier said than done.
“Of course most of my friends are hockey related, so they are all going nuts, I’ve got guys telling me that if I don’t go to China they are going to haul me over there themselves but you can’t go so we will be here watching him from here like everybody else.” Jeff Cooper, Brian’s dad said.
Cooper spent his freshman year of high school playing hockey for the Dimond Lynx before leaving the state at just 15 years old to go play junior hockey for the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League. In total, Cooper has spent 13 years playing junior and professional hockey, taking his wife along for the ride. Cooper said that she has helped him with his self confidence on and off the ice.
“That’s why I married her. She brings out the good qualities and then other things that you don’t think you have that you don’t think are important but that she sees to and I think that’s just what has been successful” Cooper said.
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics start on February 4th and you will be able to see Cooper and team USA hit the ice against People’s Republic of China on February 10th.
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