When the puck drops on the women’s ice hockey tour­na­ment at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Van­couver on Feb­ruary 13, Huskies fans every­where will have at least three rea­sons to pay attention.

Women’s ice hockey coach Dave Flint will be behind the bench as an assis­tant coach for the USA Women’s National Team. Swiss-​​born sopho­more goal­tender Flo­rence Schelling and junior defenseman Julia Marty will lace up their skates for the Swiss National Team.

But the Van­couver Games will be a show­case for more than North­eastern prowess in women’s ice hockey.

Steve Langton, ‘06, a former sprinter and jumper for the North­eastern men’s track and field team, will com­pete for the U.S. team in the two-​​man and four-​​man bob­sled events. Langton has won gold medals in national com­pe­ti­tion in both specialties.

Schelling, who posted a 1.38 goals against average and a .949 save per­centage through Northeastern’s first 20 con­tests, rat­tled off her expec­ta­tions for the Games—both as the starting goal­tender for her club and as a spectator.

We have a really good team this year and I feel that people will be in for a sur­prise,” she said. “Most of the games are already sold out, so it’s going to be really special.”

When she’s not stop­ping pucks, she wants to muck it up with her team­mates and com­peti­tors. “I’m most looking for­ward to the opening cer­e­mony and living in the Olympic Vil­lage,” Schelling said.

Marty, an assis­tant cap­tain for the Swiss club, wants to put aside distractions—the Olympic Vil­lage, the media—and focus on hockey. As a defenseman, making sure the puck stays out of her team’s zone isn’t her only respon­si­bility. She’s men­toring the Swiss team’s first-​​time Olympians.

We have a lot of young players,” she said. “I’m a role model on the ice.”

Both Schelling and Marty com­peted at the 2004 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. But playing in Canada, for an audi­ence as wild for hockey as Bosto­nians are for the Red Sox, tends to put things in per­spec­tive. “Women’s hockey in Switzer­land doesn’t have a lot of spec­ta­tors,” Marty said. “To play in Canada is a huge thing.”

When Flint’s USA squad hits the ice on Feb­ruary 14 against China, it will be a gold medal favorite. But the Yanks will have to get through Canada—which beat the U.S. team seven out of ten times in exhi­bi­tion matches leading up to the Games—if they hope to wear gold at the medal ceremony.

Gold is real­istic,” Flint said two weeks prior to facing-​​off against China. “We’ve won the last two World Cham­pi­onships and we’re ranked number one in the world right now.”

But he acknowl­edged that improved teams such as Fin­land and Sweden would make a run at gold all the more difficult.

When he’s not coaching his players through drills or prep­ping for an upcoming game, Flint hopes to catch some of the world’s pre­mier snow­boarders, bob­sled­ders, skiers and figure skaters per­form on the biggest stage of their lives.

I’ve watched it on TV in past years and I’ve seen these mem­o­rable moments, but to be there would be unbe­liev­able,” Flint said.

From his bob­sled, Langton might have the best view of all.

Though he made his first sled run fewer than three years ago, Langton was the USA Bob­sled & Skeleton Fed­er­a­tion Rookie of the Year in 2008 and won two gold medals in the four-​​man and two-​​man bob­sled in Park City, Utah, at the 2009–2010 America’s Cup.

The tran­si­tion of the Mel­rose, Mass­a­chu­setts, native from runner to bob­sledder doesn’t sur­prise North­eastern track and field coach Sherman Hart, who coached the Olympian for five sea­sons. Hart said Langton was one the strongest and fastest ath­letes on his team.

Steve is extra­or­di­narily ver­sa­tile and can do any­thing he puts his mind to,” Hart said. “He is extremely com­pet­i­tive and it’s within his phys­ical power to do very well in bobsledding.”

Langton wasn’t ready to give up com­pet­i­tive ath­letics after cap­ping a col­le­giate career that included fin­ishing third in the 100-​​meter dash at the out­door 2004 America East Cham­pi­onship, so in 2007, he sub­mitted an ath­lete résumé online and attended a summer recruit­ment camp in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Three years later, and he’s on one of the world’s biggest ath­letic stages. He has high hopes. “We have as good a shot as anyone else” at win­ning gold, he said over the phone from Van­couver just a week and a half before the games. “Maybe a better shot. I truly love what I’m doing right now. The expe­ri­ence has been so amazing.”

To follow the Huskies in the 2010 Winter Olympics, please visit http://​www​.gonu​.com/​w​h​o​c​k​e​y​/​2​0​1​0​/​w​i​n​t​e​r​o​l​y​m​p​i​c​s​.​htm