Defenseman Jonathon Blum from Ladera Ranch in south Orange County was among the first 23 players announced for the 2018 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team.
Blum, who will turn 29 Jan. 30, was chosen in the first round of the 2007 NHL draft by the Nashville Predators, the 23rd overall selection. He seven goals and 17 assists in 110 NHL games with the Predators and Minnesota Wild.
Blum is current playing for Admiral Vladivostok of the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League. Blum played AAA midget hockey with the Artesia-based California Wave Hockey Club
With the NHL prohibiting players under contract, including those assigned to the American Hockey League, from playing in the Olympics, USA Hockey, the sport’s national governing body, selected a team consisting of 15 players who play professionally in Europe, three in the AHL and four in college.
“We really like our roster,” said Jim Johannson, general manager of the 2018 U.S. Olympic men’s ice hockey team and the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey on Monday. “It’s a group that brings versatility and experience and includes players who have a lot of passion about representing our country.”
Two additional goaltenders will be added to the roster by mid-January, Johannson said.
All but one of the players has played for the U.S. in international competition, including Blum, who played for the U.S. in the 2008 and 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships.
The U.S. men’s hockey team will begin play in the Olympics Feb. 14 with a preliminary round game against Slovenia.
The roster announcement was made during the second intermission of the NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field in New York City, along with the announcements of the rosters for the women’s Olympic team and paralympic sled hockey team.