NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Westchester County residents have joined together in chants of “U-S-A” to support New Rochelle’s native son, Kevin Shattenkirk, as he leads the U.S. Olympic hockey team in Sochi.
The 24-year-old defenseman, who stars for the St. Louis Blues, had an assist in Team USA's thrilling 3-2 shootout win over Russia on Saturday. He also notched an assist in his Olympic debut last Thursday in the United States’ rout of Slovakia.
Team USA is 3-0, and, if it wins three more games, will have its first gold medal since the famed "Miracle on Ice" 1980 team.
The U.S. team, and New Rochelle’s most famous hockey player, have created a buzz throughout the city that became more contagious once the puck was dropped.
“It’s always exciting to watch Team USA in all its glory, and it’s especially exciting when it’s one of our native sons,” New Rochelle City Councilwoman Shari Rackman said. “Everyone is excited. There’s a lot of energy in the city.”
Although the weekend’s games aired live at 7:30 a.m. each day (with 5 p.m. re-airings), many were willing to swap adult beverages for orange juice to avoid having the results spoiled.
“Man, usually on a weekend, you’re lucky to see me before 10 (a.m.),” Max Grossman, 22, said in New Rochelle. “My alarm is already set. There’s no way I’m missing this. It’s impossible to avoid finding out who won with all the technology.”
Mayor Noam Bramson echoed the praise of his colleague, adding, “New Rochelle is very proud that one of our own is representing the United States in Sochi. We’re proud of Kevin’s great accomplishments on the ice.”
Shattenkirk made an immediate impact in international, assisting on a Paul Stastny goal in the second period of Team USA’s 7-1 victory over Slovakia.
Citing the success of school and college teams in the city, Rackman said that Shattenkirk is just one of many impressive New Rochelle athletes that has seen success in recent years.
“We have an unbelievable pool of athletes in this city. This year has been an unbelievably good year for New Rochelle, from high school down to pee wee,” she said. “There’s a lot of talent in this city, and it’s exciting when we get to see our talent go all the way.”