DEDHAM, Maine — Former University of Maine All-American goalie Jimmy Howard, the starting goalie for the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, is one of six goalies who has been invited to the U.S. national team’s orientation camp in Arlington, Va., on Aug. 26-27.
That means he will vie for one of the three goaltending spots on the 2014 United States Olympic team roster.
The other goalies are Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators, Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils and 19-year-old John Gibson, who led the United States to the bronze medal at the World Championships in Sweden and Finland in May.
The Olympic Winter Games will be held in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 7-23.
“It’s a great honor to be on the radar,” said the 29-year-old Howard, who has a home in Dedham on Green Lake but has spent most of his summer working out in Detroit. “There’s a lot of great goalies on the list. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a challenge.”
Howard is coming off a season in which he went 21-13-7 with a 2.13 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. He was 7-7 with a 2.44 GAA and a .924 save percentage in the Stanley Cup playoffs as the Red Wings were ousted in seven games by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference semifinals.
The 2012 NHL All-Star has represented his country three times previously: the Under-18 World Championships, the World Junior Championships and the World Championships.
“Every time you put on the [United States] uniform, it changes you. You go from representing your organization to representing your country,” said Howard. “You want to perform your best for your country.”
The team will be picked based on how they perform during the regular season.
“I’m confident, but I don’t have a crystal ball. We’ll see how the season goes,” said Howard. “One of my goals this season is to be in Sochi in February. As long as I go out there and play the way I’m capable of playing, hopefully they’ll want to pick me.”
He said the lure of the Winter Olympics won’t put any added pressure on him.
“The three hardest jobs in Detroit are being the Red Wings goalie, the Lions’ quarterback and the Tigers’ closer,” chuckled Howard. “For me, it’s just about going out there, performing and having fun.”