Hey folks. Sorry that it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’ve been ensconced in the Winter Olympics. In fact, I wrote a story about Fairfield-native Julie Chu and Fairfield Prep graduate, Chris Drury. However, because of our wonderful web settings, the said story did not make it online. So I’ve included it below. Hope you enjoy. As always, follow me on Twitter for Olympic banter and Fairfield sports at www.twitter.com/pickensfcsports. Take good care.
By Pat Pickens
Connecticut may not be the hotbed of hockey in the United States, but in the 2010 Vancouver games, the state — and Fairfield — are having quite an impact on the ice.
There are two Olympic athletes from Fairfield county, and each has a tie to Fairfield. Women’s hockey assistant captain Julie Chu is a Fairfielder and men’s ice hockey player Chris Drury is a graduate of Fairfield Prep.
For Chu, these Olympics have been a showcase of leadership but also skill. The Fairfield native tallied four points, including a goal in the three USA preliminary games of the women’s ice hockey competition. Chu added an assist in the Americans’ dominant, 9-1 win over Sweden that put USA in the gold medal game against Canada (tomorrow, 6:30).
Drury’s selection to the squad was much maligned by many hockey pundits, but the versatile forward has made his selection look good by scoring a pair of goals thus far in the tournament, including the go-ahead tally in the Americans’ stunning 5-3 win over Canada on Sunday night which clinched the USA a bye to the quarterfinals. The Americans will play Switzerland today at 3 p.m.
“It was obviously an important game for us,” Drury said in a teleconference Monday evening. “We wanted to get the No. 1 seed.”
Drury’s versatility has also paid dividends for the USA squad as he has played the power play, penalty kill and even strength with many different forward combinations. Drury is tied for ninth in the games with a plus-3 rating thus far while
playing many different roles as the team’s 13th forward.
“In a tournament like this you don’t play the same role that you would for your NHL team,” Drury said. “You just do whatever your coach and GM asks from you.”
Those leadership qualities have endeared him with his teammates, as well as his former teammate in Buffalo, goalie Ryan Miller.
“It was always great to play with [Drury],” Miller told the Buffalo News. “He was always a big-game player.”
Miller in turn has endeared himself with the Fairfield Prep graduate as well.
“I’m thrilled that he’s our goalie,” Drury said of Miller.
For each player, playing the games in North America has added an extra buzz to the event. Chu and Drury both played in the 2002 Salt Lake City games, and Chu was especially excited about playing near her current hometown of Minneapolis.
“Everybody up there is crazy for hockey,” Chu said. “It is special to be selected to go there.”
Drury has felt that these games have been a different experience as Salt Lake City and the 2006 games in Torino, Italy.
“They have been three totally different experiences for me,” Drury said. “I’m having fun being part of this team.”
It is a special feeling also for Chu to be in the same Olympics as Drury for the third straight time. Each has known the other for quite some time dating back to their Fairfield county days. Drury played youth hockey with Chu’s brother, Richard.
“I was excited to see that he was one of the players picked for the team,” Chu said. “He’s a great guy and a great hockey player.”
“It’s great,” Drury said of sharing the Olympic experience with Chu. “As big as the hockey world can be sometimes … to see her is a huge thrill for me and for my family and
I’m sure for her family too.”