USA hockey star Carlson has Indianapolis ties

John Carlson
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The USA men's hockey team is in the medal round at the Sochi Olympics and are getting some help from a Hoosier connection.

When you watch Team USA, keep a close eye on #4, John Carlson. Carlson, 24, brings some serious Hoosier pride to the games. He graduated from Cathedral High School in 2008.

"It was awesome. It was a great place. A great place to go to school, tough at times, but it was a fun and exciting and it was my first year away from home, so the people there really helped me enjoy it," Carlson said.

He grew up in New Jersey, but moved to Indianapolis to play for the Ice. Steve and Kelly Bogner of Carmel took him in as he chased his hockey dream.

Carlson says he cherishes all of those Indiana relationships and still keeps in touch when he can.

"Absolutely. I talked to Paul Skjodt, the owner of the team, and some of my friends back there," he said.

Carlson became the first Ice alum to get drafted by the NHL. He's become one of the top defensemen in the league in just his fourth season with the Washington Capitals.

He credits his development in Indianapolis for some of his success.

"It was huge for me. It was my first year moving away and different...hard at times, but at the end of it, it got me to where I wanted to be. I was drafted into the NHL and it was great," he said.

He's now focused on the next chapter - putting American hockey back on top.

"It's exciting. It's a great experience. It's fun, it's something you watched in the past few Olympics and want to be a part of. It's an honor for me to be here," Carlson said.

Team USA plays Canada Friday at noon Eastern Standard Time in the semifinals in Sochi. If they win, they'll play for the gold medal on Sunday.