Host China has finalized its roster for the men’s hockey tournament at the Beijing Olympics, which includes a dozen players from North America.
American Jeremy Smith is expected to be China’s starter in goal. Fellow U.S. players on the roster include defenseman Jake Chelios and forward Cory Kane.
Canadian Brandon Yip, who has Chinese ancestry, was also named to the team after being captain of Kunlun Red Star in the Russia-based KHL that served as a proxy for China’s national team. Defensemen Ryan Sproul, Ty Schultz and Jason Fram, forwards Spencer Foo, Parker Foo, Ethan Werek, Tyler Wong and Luke Lockhart and goaltender Paris O’Brien are the other Canadians on the roster.
Arizona State University’s Peter Zhong, who was born in Beijing and began playing hockey in the U.S., is one of the youngest players on the team. Eddie Yan was born in Toronto and played for China in under-20 tournaments in recent years.
There are eight homegrown Chinese players on the 25-man roster: forwards Jianing Guo, Xudong Xiang, Rudy Ying and Zesen Zhang, defensemen Zimeng Chen, Ruinan Yan, Pengfei Zhang and goaltender Pengfei Han.
Defenseman Denis Osipov is the lone Russian player.
China’s roster had been a question for months, especially when the plan was for NHL players to participate. The International Ice Hockey Federation decided last fall to keep China in the tournament because the team’s competitive standard was determined to be sufficient.
In addition to Chinese citizens, IIHF rules allow players to naturalize by moving there and playing for the national team for two or more years.
Players arrived in the Olympic village Thursday and are set to practice Friday. The tournament opens Feb. 9.
China opens against the U.S. on Feb. 10 and plays Germany on Feb. 12 and Canada on Feb. 13.
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