Take Five With Ryan Stoa

A Quick Q&A with Ryan Stoa of the U.S. Men's Olympic Team

Ryan Stoa has represented the United States on International ice more than most players, but this time wearing the red, white and blue takes on an even deeper meaning. USA Hockey Magazine caught up with the Bloomington, Minn., native after his first practice with the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team.

 

Has it sunk in that you’re an Olympian? It’s been a long time coming? Did you ever give up hope that it would happen?

You never really give up on it in the back of your mind, but I never thought that playing in the Olympics would ever in a million years be something that I’d be able to check off the list. I’m just so excited to take advantage of that opportunity.

 

I know it’s only been one practice but what do you see as this team’s strengths?

We’re a fast team, we’re a gritty team. We have a lot of guys who have really good offensive instincts. It’s just going to come down to a bounce or two and who wants it more. We have a lot of hungry guys in that room.

 

Not many of the so-called experts are giving the U.S. much of a chance. What are your expectations heading into the tournament?

We have the bar set really high. We come in playing to win. That’s really our mindset. I think we’ll be disappointed with anything other than gold.

 

What was your reaction when you received the call from (U.S. team general manager) Jim Johannson that you were on the Olympic team?

I was in disbelief. It was the best phone call I’ve ever received. Just the way he delivered the message, he was just so excited to tell me that I had make the team. It was kind of an emotional deal. As a hockey player you try to be really humble but then you had to keep it quiet. I wanted to tell everybody that I knew. I called my wife and asked her if she was sitting down. She’s like ‘what, are you pregnant.’ I said no, I’m not pregnant but it’s close. It was amazing.

 

Then going from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, how tough was it to get the news that JJ had suddenly passed away?

It was just disbelief because he seemed like such a healthy guy. For some reason bad things happen to great people. It’s just one of those cases. We definitely have him in our thoughts here. We have t-shirts and a stall in the locker room in his honor. It makes me happy to see that they are remembering him in that way. To do that for him, especially when it was his team that he put together was really something. We definitely want to make him proud.

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