In just a few weeks, Eli fans may catch a glimpse of a familiar face on the ice at Turin in the 20th Olympic Winter Games.

Yale defender Helen Resor ’08 was named to the U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team Tuesday, nabbing one of 20 spots on the squad and becoming the first Bulldog ever to skate for Team USA.

U.S. head coach Ben Smith formally announced the roster at a ceremony at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., on Tuesday afternoon.

Resor said she had been nervous before the announcement.

“It was very nerve-racking, but a big relief when it was over,” she said. “It was bittersweet, though. We had all worked so hard together, and three players — a defenseman, a goalie and a forward — got cut.”

The selections came on the heels of the first 16 games of the Hilton Family “Skate to 2006,” in which 24 prospective Olympians competed against various national teams, starting with a 5-1 victory over the Western Collegiate Hockey All-Stars on Sept. 30. Resor has played in all 16 matches thus far, notching an assist for the 11-5 Team USA, and will lace up in St. Paul on Friday night in the first affair of the two-game season finale against Team Canada.

Resor said that despite the team’s 2-1 win over Canada on Nov. 27, these next two matches could go either way.

“We have a ways to go before the Olympics, and it might be a little impractical to think [of it as a preview of the gold-medal game],” she said. “But with Canada, it depends which team shows up.”

Resor, who is taking the 2005-06 academic year off after completing her freshman year, turned heads as a rookie in Bulldog blue. Although she missed the first eight games with an injury, the defender delivered seven goals and 11 assists, including six goals in the final nine games to finish sixth on the team with 18 points. A potent offensive threat even from the back, Resor finished ninth among defensemen nationwide, averaging 0.75 points per game. The highlight of her inaugural season may have been a game-tying penalty shot late in the third period in a March 4 playoff game against Princeton, which the Elis would go on to win in overtime.

Her efforts this past winter earned her ECAC All-Rookie honors and culminated with her joining Team USA in the World Championships last April. Resor has been with the national team since then and will head to Lake Placid in January for the final weeks of training before heading to Italy.

After opening ceremonies Feb. 10, the U.S. Olympic team begins first-round play against Switzerland, Germany and Finland the following week. The gold-medal game, where Team USA won in Nagano, Japan in 1998 but fell short against Canada four years later in Utah, will take place Feb. 20.

And now that Resor has nabbed a spot on the American roster, she will have a different type of anxiety to deal with.

“I’m definitely going to be nervous for Turin, but right now I don’t feel it yet,” she said. “I don’t feel the Olympics have really hit me yet, but it will.”