Harvard hockey player Mark Fusco, a defenseman, moved one step further along the road to Sarajevo. Yugoslavia, site of the 1984 Winter Olympics. Monday, as both players survived a major cut for the U.S. National Team.
Of the 80 athletes who competed at the National Sports Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo, all but 27 were cut from the team Among those disappointed after the two-week trials were Harvard's 1983 captain Greg Olson, who played center, wing Greg Britz, and defenseman Neil Sheehy. All three were graduated in June.
Monday's announcement came as no surprise as both Fuscos had been among the 14 U.S. hockey players previously guaranteed a spot on the National Team. Olympic Team coach Lou Vairo seluctantly made the arrangement to discourage top National Hockey League (NHL) prospects from signing pro contracts which would nullify their Olympic eligibility. Mark Fusco was the 1983 recipient of the Hobey Baker Award, gives to the MVP in the college ranks, while Scott was the leading scorer for the 1983 NCAA finalist Crimson squad.
The younger Fusco did not compete in Colorado because of nagging groin injury, and it remains unclear how soon to will join the team after it begins touring August 7. The team's six-month itinerary includes a stopover in Boston to play Harvard at the Bright Center in November.
Headed for the Pros?
The next cut on the National Team is scheduled for September 15, when the 27 players will be pared to 22. The final 20 who journey to Sarajevo will not be decided until February 6. should Mark and Scott Fusco make it, they would be the first brother due on an Olympic hockey squad since 1960 when the team included Bill and Bob Cleary of Harvard.
Among the players currently with the National Team are non-collegians Brian Lawton. Pat Lafontaine and Tom Barasso--the first, third and fifth choices, respectively, in the 1983 NHL draft conducted in early June.
The first cuts for the Canadian National team were also made last week, following try-outs in Ontano. Neither of Harvard's hopefuls, Greg Chalmers nor Shayne Kukulowicz, survived the cut, which brought the team to a still unwieldy size of 50.
Other American National Team members familiar to Harvard hockey fans are 1983 Yale graduates Bob Brooke and Bill Nichols, who will both play defense with Mark Fusco on the U.S. National Team; soon-to-be Princeton senior Ed Lee, a high-scoring wing; and three members of Providence College's most recent team--1983 graduate Kurt Kleinendorst and rising juniors Rich Costello and Paul Guay.
Monday's news gave Boston College rooters a lift as 1982 graduate Gary Sampson made the cuts, but it disheartened BU fans, whose 1983 captain Tom O'Regan was left out.