Denver’s Nick Shore takes 299 games of NHL experience to Winter Olympics

Denver’s Nick Shore takes 299 games of NHL experience to Winter Olympics
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Denver native Nick Shore has embraced the honor, no matter how it transpired.

The former University of Denver standout will play for the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team as its most experienced NHL player — more than a month after the league declined to send its current players to Beijing, China.

“Definitely one of the coolest opportunities I’ve ever had in my career, and really, my life,” Shore told The Post in a phone interview. “Didn’t expect it, obviously — I was looking forward to watching it. But this came up and the way you see the support from friends and family, people you haven’t talked to forever, everyone really cares about it.

“So it’s an honor to be a part of it — of all of the athletes from the States going over.”

Shore, 29, logged 299 games for five NHL clubs before beginning a two-year stint in Europe, where he currently plays for Novosibirsk Sibir in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. Shore recently traveled to Denver and practiced with the Denver Pioneers before joining his American teammates for a two-day training camp in Los Angeles. The team departed for Beijing on Wednesday.

“Without a doubt, having even not been there, it’s going to be the coolest experience that I’ve ever had,” Shore said. “I’m sure it will resonate a little bit more when we get over there, get in the (Olympic) Village and start to experience some of those things.”

Shore will become the third Colorado native to play for a U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team, joining goalie John Grahame of Denver (2006 Turin, Italy) and forward Troy Terry of Highlands Ranch (2018 PyeongChang, South Korea). Terry also played at DU, winning an NCAA championship in 2017 — four years after Shore signed with the Los Angeles Kings to begin his professional career.

“Everybody’s pulling for you and the USA, all the athletes from the States,” Shore said. “Playing at DU, it’s awesome to be representing DU — especially because of all the collegiate kids we have on the team.”

Shore is one of the older players on the youngest U.S. roster since 1994. The average age is 25.1 years and 15 players are being loaned from their NCAA teams, as Terry was in 2018 from DU. Defenseman Drew Helleson, 20, is a Boston College junior and a 2019 Avalanche second-round draft pick.

“There’s definitely a lot of excitement around the group. We’re going over there to win a gold medal,” Shore said. “That’s certainly what it starts and ends with, but at the same time, you have to soak it in, enjoy every day, and experience as much as you can.”

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