Five Badgers headline US Women's National hockey roster

Former Badger Brianna Decker will once again represent the United States. - Richard Wolowicz/Freestyle Photo

Four former Badgers and one incoming Wisconsin recruit were named to the United States Women's National team Monday.

As expected, the University of Wisconsin was well represented when the U.S. Women's National Team was announced Monday. Five players with Badgers ties -- including incoming freshman Annie Pankowski -- were announced as members of the 25-player roster.

Three of the four former players -- goaltender Jessie Vetter and forwards Hilary Knight and Meghan Duggan -- were members of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team. The United States won a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Brianna Decker is also a USA Hockey veteran, most recently winning a gold medal with Team USA at the 2013 IIHF Women's World Championships.

The U.S. Women's National Team will train together and participate in various competitions in the build-up to the 2014 games. The announcement was the culmination of a seven-day selection camp that began June 17 in Lake Placid and included 41 players.

Current Badgers Courtney Burke and Alex Rigsby also participated in the selection camp, as did former Wisconsin standouts Brooke Ammerman and Erika Lawler.

"We had a tremendous camp with our country's best players and faced some very difficult decisions," said Reagan Carey, director of women's hockey for USA Hockey. "We thank everyone for their dedication and congratulate those that made the team."

The inclusion of Vetter, Knight, Decker and Duggan came as no surprise. Vetter, Decker and Duggan have each previously been honored as the best player in all of women's college hockey with the Patty Kazmaier Award, and all four have been standouts at the international level for USA Hockey.

The one possible surprise is incoming freshman Annie Pankowski. The 18-year-old forward from the North American Hockey Academy was regarded as one of the top incoming recruits in the country for the upcoming season, but now will spend the 2013-14 season preparing for a spot at the 2014 Olympics.

The Pankowski news is bittersweet for Badgers fans who were looking to see the talented Laguna Hills, Calif., native in a Wisconsin sweater this season. Losing Pankowski for the season will obviously sting from a personnel standpoint initially, but is a fantastic opportunity for a young, future Badger.

The positive news is the return of All-American goaltender Alex Rigsby and sophomore-to-be standout defenseman Courtney Burke.

For more hockey coverage, follow Andy on Twitter --
You can also reach Andy via e-mail (AndyJohnsonB5Q@gmail.com)

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