Two Hockey Players With Local Ties Headed To Olympic Games

Two players with connections to the Suburban High School Hockey League will be part of the American team that will skate in the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Yardley, Pa. native and Germantown Academy graduate Brian O’ Neill, a forward will be joined by defenseman Ryan Gunderson, a Bensalem native and a Holy Ghost Prep graduate.

This will mark the first time since 1994 that NHL players will not be competing in the Olympics. The bulk of the American squad is playing professionally in Europe.

The 32-year old Gunderson is skating for Brynäs IF in the Swedish Hockey League, the top professional league in Sweden. He played college hockey at Vermont and set a school record by appearing in 148 games for the Catamounts.

He played professionally with the Trenton Devils in in the East Coast Hockey League before moving on to Sweden, where he helped Brynäs IF win a league title in 2012.

The 29-year old O’Neill is playing for Jokerit in the Kontinental Hockey League, which is based in Russia but has teams in Western Europe as well; Jonjerit is based in Helsinki, Finland.

O’Neill played college hockey at Yale where he tied a record for games played (138) and left with the second highest point total in school history. He was named the Ivy League player of the year in 2012 before signing with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and helping their American Hockey League affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, win the Calder Cup three years later.


A total of 706 NHL players have competed over the course of the last five Olympiads. League officials and club owners felt that participating in the upcoming Games would not be in the league’s best interests, citing the break in the schedule among other things.

This year’s Games get underway on February 9. The U.S. hockey team, which being coached by former NHL standout Tony Granato will play its first preliminary game in the 12-team tournament on February 14 against Slovenia before playing additional games against Slovakia on February 16 and Russia on the 17th.