Former Crimson star Bill Cleary will center the second line of the United States Olympic Hockey Team today against a strong Czechoslovakian five, as the 1956 Winter Olympic competition begins at Cortina O'Ampezzo, Italy.
Meanwhile, Radcliffe junior Tenley Albright will continue practicing, trying to shake off the effects of her injured leg, in preparation for the figure skating events Monday. The current World Champion, she went through her most rigorous routines yesterday.
Besides hockey, the bobsledding and giant slalom events will inaugurate the seventh winter Olympiad. Yesterday, two preliminary hockey games were played after the formal opening of the Olympic Games by Italian President Giovanni Gronchi.
The U.S. hockey team faces stiff competition in the round robin tournament deciding the gold medal winner. Canada, which has won the past five gold medals, rates as the favorite, along with a powerful Russian squad, which is entered for the first time.
Thus, the best the American team can hope for is third; the Czechs are considered its chief competition for the bronze medal. Against a fast-skating sextet from Czechoslovakia, the U.S. will hold the strongest squad it has over sent to a Winter Games.
Goalle Rigazio Standout
Goalie Don Rigazio, a Cambridge boy who never went to college, ranks as perhaps the outstanding member of the U.S. team. He was the only American picked on last year's all-world amateur team.
In addition to Cleary, the other counters are Johnny Mayasich of the University of Minnesota and Johnny Matchefts of the University of Michigan.
The United States, Poland, and Czechoslovakia are in one of three brackets into which the ten hockey teams are divided. The top two teams in each group advance to the playoffs.