Zach Parise named captain of U.S. Olympic hockey team

Puck Daddy

Team USA will be returning 13 members of the 2010 silver medal-winning team for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, three of which are captains of their NHL teams. So, no matter who's wearing the "C," America's hockey team will have plenty of leadership on the ice.

But the lead man for Team USA this time around will be Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild, USA Hockey announced Friday. Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and Parise's teammate, Ryan Suter, will be his alternates.

Why Parise?

"When it comes to a captaincy and leadership, you're looking for player and people who embody who you are and how you want to play," said U.S. head coach Dan Bylsma.

So like the determination that helped Parise score the late game-tying goal against Canada in the gold medal game and not because the U.S. Olympic Committee made him wear this silly outfit? Fine.

Parise knows a thing or two about being a team leader having served as captain of the New Jersey Devils for the 2011-12 NHL season and spending time under the tutelage of Jamie Langenbrunner, who wore the "C" from 2007 to 2011.

The recently retired Langenbrunner also captained Team USA at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, where Parise got to see his leadership abilities in a room full of all-stars.

"He's not an overly vocal guy in the locker room," said Parise. "But you know he's going to play hard and play the right way every game. He leads by example."

Bylsma added Parise embodies the blue-collar mentality the U.S. team is taking to Sochi.

"They have to be examples both on and off the ice. I can't think of a better group," said Bylsma.

"I can't think of a better captain than Zach Parise to lead our team and be our captain."

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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