Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and Alex Pietrangelo are the first names submitted by Hockey Canada to be part of the men’s hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Olympics, according to general manager Doug Armstrong.
Participating countries were asked to declare three players last month, and Armstrong said the choices for Canada were straightforward. The names were sent to the Canadian Olympic Committee, which subsequently forwarded them to the International Olympic Committee.
“It goes without saying that Sid is Sid, Connor is Connor, and Alex has got a wealth of experience from the (2014 Sochi Olympics) team to the (World Cup of Hockey 2016) team to the captain of a Stanley Cup champion,” Armstrong said. “Those guys are at the top of their game in the League too, and they’re proven winners.”
Crosby, captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, provided one of hockey’s most memorable moments when he scored in overtime of the gold medal game to give Canada a 3-2 victory against the United States at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The 34-year-old center was Canada’s captain at Sochi and the World Cup, each won by Canada.
Pietrangelo, a 31-year-old defenseman with the Vegas Golden Knights, played for Canada in 2014. This will be McDavid’s first Olympics. The 24-year-old center is captain of the Edmonton Oilers.
Armstrong said he’s held numerous conversations with Crosby to date and called him “our team leader.”
“I’ve talked to Sid more than any (player) just because of my past relationship with him and he’ll be our leader,” he said. “We go back to the 2010 Olympics. I wouldn’t call us best friends, but I feel comfortable calling him on the phone and he feels comfortable picking it up.
“He’ll lead our team. He’ll be a great help to the coaching staff by delivering their message to the rest of the players. To me, he’s just Sidney Crosby. He’s the best player on the planet for more than a decade. I don’t think the rest of the players will be in awe of him because you don’t get to be an Olympian by being in awe of other players. But they’ll respect him, just like his teammates did when he wore the captain’s ‘C’ at the 2014 Olympics, the 2016 World Cup, and the same way he respected Scott Niedermayer, our captain, at the 2010 Olympics.”
Armstrong said he’s been introduced to McDavid and has spoken to him several times. He was GM of the 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, for whom Pietrangelo was captain.
“I’ve been fortunate that my relationship with Alex goes back a while,” Armstrong said of Pietrangelo, who signed a seven-year contract with the Golden Knights on Oct. 12, 2020.
Armstrong was part of Canada’s management group for the 2002 Salt Lake City, 2010 and 2014 Olympics. He was named GM of Canada on Feb. 3.
Canada’s management and coaching staff held meetings in Banff, Alberta last month, where the decision was made to list Crosby, McDavid and Pietrangelo. The next task is to submit a list of 55 players who will be candidates for the Olympic team Oct. 15.