With two games remaining against Canada, their biggest rival, Team USA made the first cut to their centralization roster.
Today, Team USA announced that Annie Pankowski would be the first player released from the player pool. It’s the second time in two straight centralization cycles that Pankowski has found herself cut from the final roster; she was also left off the 2014 Olympic team after originally being named to the centralization roster.
Both Team USA GM Reagan Carey and head coach Robb Stauber wished Pankowski the best moving after the decision:
“These are very difficult decisions but a necessary part in the process of finalizing our Olympic team roster,” said Reagan Carey, USA Hockey director of women’s hockey and general manager of the U.S. Women’s National Team. “Everyone in our program brings value to our team and Annie has certainly been a contributor to our national team success during her USA Hockey career. And given her young age, I trust she’ll continue to positively impact our program in future seasons.”
“On behalf of the coaching staff, I’d like to thank Annie Pankowski for her hard work and dedication to this process up to this point,” said Robb Stauber, head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team. “She will certainly be missed in our locker room and I wish her the best in her future endeavors.”
Pankowski was one of the members of the original 23-player roster named in May and was assumed to be a lock for the Olympic team. However, because of the recent (unexpected) additions of Cayla Barnes, Sidney Morin and Haley Skarupa to the original 23-player roster, the team had to make three cuts before the Olympics in order to meet the 23-player roster limit. Pankowski was the first player released from the team.
Per Team USA’s website, Pankowski had played in six contests with the USWNT this season, recording a goal and two assists.