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1/5 Team USA defender Steven Kampfer (L) is in the COVID-19 protocol in Beijing ahead...


Team USA defender Steven Kampfer (L) is in the COVID-19 protocol in Beijing ahead of the 2022 Winter Games men’s hockey tournament. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 4 (UPI) — Jake Sanderson, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and a top prospect, is one of three Team USA hockey players in COVID-19 isolation, just days before 2022 Winter Games play, USA Hockey told UPI on Friday.
A team spokesman confirmed that Sanderson, fellow defenseman Steven Kampfer and forward Andy Miele are in the protocol. Sanderson remains in Los Angeles. Miele and Kampfer are isolating in Beijing.

None of the players has been ruled out of the competition.
Team USA started practice Friday afternoon, and the men’s hockey preliminary round starts Wednesday in Beijing. Team USA will play China in its first game Thursday at Beijing National Indoor Stadium.

Countries will lean on prospects this summer in Beijing because the NHL did not allow its players to participate in the 2022 Winter Games.

Sanderson, who plays at the University of North Dakota, is expected to be one of the Americans’ top defenders. The Ottawa Senators’ first pick in 2020 leads North Dakota with 24 points in 21 games this season.
Miele, who won the 2011 Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s best player while at Miami University, spent time with three NHL teams. He appeared in games for the Arizona Coyotes from 2011-12 through 2013-14, but now plays in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.

Kampfer, who also plays in the Kontinental Hockey League, was a fourth-round pick by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2007 NHL Draft. He appeared in games for four different NHL franchises from 2010-11 through 2020-21, including last season for the Boston Bruins.

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Kampfer posted a photo, which featured many members of Team USA posing together at an airport, earlier this week on social media.
The Team USA-China game in the preliminary round will be shown at 8:10 a.m. EST Thursday on USA. The Americans will battle Canada in their next Group A game at 11:10 p.m. Feb. 11 on USA.

Russia is expected to win gold in men’s hockey. Finland, Canada and Sweden also are among the favorites for the podium in Beijing.
The Team USA women beat Finland 5-2 in their first match Thursday in preliminary play. The women’s team battles Russia in another Group A match at 8:10 a.m. Saturday on USA.

USA’s Kendall Coyne (26) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during their preliminary round Group A women’s hockey match against Finland at the Wukesong Sports Center at the Beijing Winter Olympics on February 3, 2022. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI | License Photo


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