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Meet a Greenwich resident who will compete in the Olympics for Team USA hockey

Mens Hockey Preview Olympics
Al Goldis
Associated Press
Michigan's Strauss Mann, a Greenwich, Conn., resident, plays during an NCAA hockey game on Wednesday Dec. 8, 2020, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Former Michigan goaltender Strauss Mann, who is now playing in the Swedish Hockey League, is expected to be the U.S. starter for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The United States and other countries needed to pull from the college ranks and European leagues after the NHL decided not to send players to Beijing.

Strauss Mann, a Greenwich resident, is the goaltender for Team U.S.A hockey. He’s among a group that includes 15 current college players, eight European professionals and two players from the American Hockey League.

“It means so much to represent my country,” Mann said after arriving in China this week. “To go down the list with the smaller communities like Connecticut and Greenwich and then some of the schools I’ve gone to at Michigan and Brunswick, it’s all about the people that I’ve met and who have mentored me in those places. You see how much joy it brings those people and that’s pretty special.”

The 23-year-old Mann has been playing hockey since his early years. After a stellar college career at University of Michigan, he signed his first professional contract last summer with Skelleftea AIK of the Sweden Hockey League.

Mann wrapped up his schedule with the Sweden league last week. He said he’s excited to join the rest of Team USA in Beijing with the task of bringing home the gold.

“Everyone is just trying to get there first and foremost,” he said. “The little time we’ve had to talk about hockey, it’s been a lot of positive vibes. We’re definitely going to try to win a gold medal, so that will be special to be there for that run.”

This year's Team USA squad will not feature NHL players. A surge in coronavirus cases back in December forced the cancellation of several games that the league plans to make up during Olympic competition.

Mann and the Americans will begin against host China in a preliminary match on Thursday, Feb. 10.

Community members and officials, such as Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo, will be rooting for them.

“We’re very proud of Strauss and all that he’s accomplished up to this point,” Camillo said. “Whether here in town or at Michigan, and now in the Olympics, we’re all rooting for him.”

Mike Lyle is a former reporter and host at WSHU.