CHRISTIAN THOMAS NAMED TO CANADIAN OLYMPIC TEAM


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Christian Thomas has been announced by Hockey Canada as part of Canada’s roster for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics.

The Toronto, Ontario native has nine goals and eight assists for 17 points in 23 games with the Penguins this season. Thomas has also represented Canada twice on the international stage twice in the last two months, participating in the Karjala Cup in November and emerging victorious at the Spengler Cup in December.

“It’s a dream come true,” Thomas said. “You never believe growing up that you’ll have the chance or an opportunity to play in an Olympics. It’s just a great opportunity.”

A second-round pick by the New York Rangers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Thomas has played in 334 professional games, including 27 in the NHL as a member of the Rangers and Montréal Canadiens. The 25-year-old forward has 173 points (85G-88A) in 307 career AHL games.



The preliminary round of the men’s hockey tournament at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea begins on Saturday, Feb. 10. Thomas and the rest of Team Canada will play their first game on Sunday, Feb. 11 against Russia, then proceed to face-off against the likes of the Czech Republic, Finland, Switzerland and the United States in the group stage. The gold medal game for men’s hockey at this year’s Olympics will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 12, as they travel north of the border to Thomas’ home country to take on the Belleville Senators. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Wednesday, Jan. 17 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Puck drop between the Penguins and Phantoms is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Individual tickets for all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

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FORMER PENS WELCH, KOLARIK NAMED TO USA OLYMPIC SQUAD

Noah Welch played parts of two seasons (2005-07) with the Penguins, and represented the team at the 2006 AHL All-Star Classic.

Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman Noah Welch and forward Chad Kolarik were named to the 2018 United States Men’s Olympic Hockey Team on Monday.  The tournament, which will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea from February 9-25, will be the first since the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway, not to feature National Hockey League players.

TEAM USA ROSTER

Welch, 35, was originally selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round (54th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.  He spent parts of two seasons (2005-07) with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, recording 50 points (14+36) in 104 games.

A native of Brighton, MA, Welch was voted a starter for the PlanetUSA All-Star Team at the 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic in Winnipeg, Manitoba while with the Penguins.  He has appeared in 209 AHL games with the Penguins, Rochester Americans and Chicago Wolves, recording 77 points (19+58).

Welch appeared in 27 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins between 2005-07, recording six points (2+4), before being traded to the Florida Panthers for Gary Roberts.  He appeared in 75 NHL games with the Penguins, Panthers, Tampa Bay Lighting and Atlanta Thrashers, recording nine points (4+5) and 58 penalty minutes.

For the past seven seasons, Welch has been playing in Sweden, and currently is a member of Vaxjo HC.

Chad Kolarik recorded 33 points in 35 games with the Penguins during the 2012-13 season.

Kolarik, 31, was acquired by the Penguins from the New York Rangers for Benn Ferriero on January 24, 2013.  He appeared in 35 regular season games with the Penguins that year, posting 33 points (15+18), and added 11 points (5+^) in 15 Calder Cup Playoff games for the team.

The Abington, PA native spent parts of five seasons in the AHL with the Penguins, San Antonio Rampage, Syracuse Crunch, Springfield Falcons, Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale, recording 209 points (98+111) in 277 games.  Kolarik also appeared in six NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Rangers, recording one assist.

Kolarik has been playing overseas for the past five seasons, and currently leads the Mannheim Eagles (Germany) with 31 points (19+12) in 32 games this season.

Team USA’s Olympic schedule features preliminary-round play against Slovenia at 7:10 a.m. ET on Feb. 14 from the Kwandong Hockey Centre; Slovakia at 10:10 p.m. on Feb. 15 at the Gangneung Hockey Centre; and Olympic Athletes from Russia at Gangneung at 7:10 a.m. on Feb. 17.

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Would you like more info on tickets for any of our upcoming FAN FRIDAY games? Simply fill in your contact info below, and a Penguins ticket representative will contact you within 48 hours.

CHRISTIAN THOMAS TO PLAY FOR TEAM CANADA IN SPENGLER CUP


Christian Thomas will get another chance to showcase his skills in an effort to make the Canadian Olympic Team, after being selected to Team Canada’s entry in the Spengler Cup tournament today.

The 91st incarnation of the Spengler Cup will feature four European club teams – HC Davos (Switzerland), Dinamo Riga (Latvia), HPK Hameenlinna (Finland) and Mountfield HK (Czech Republic) – as well as international teams from Switzerland and Canada.  The tournament takes place between Dec. 26-31 in Davos.

“It’s exciting, and I’m excited to go there,” Thomas said.  “Unfortunately I have to miss some games here.  The team in Pittsburgh and here in Wilkes-Barre have been awesome in letting me play in the tournaments.”

Canada is using this year’s tournament as a final opportunity to take a look at potential players for their Olympic team.  While the Winter Olympics have featured National Hockey League players suiting up for their home countries since 1998, this year’s tournament will not feature skaters from the world’s top league, due to an impasse between the NHL and the International Olympic Committee.

However, players participating in European leagues are eligible to participate in the Olympics, as are North American collegiate skaters, and those signed to American Hockey League only contracts.  Thomas falls into that latter set.

The Penguins forward suited up for Team Canada earlier this year at the Karjala Cup tournament, which was held in Sweden, Switzerland and Finland.  Thomas potted one goal in three games during the competition.

The Spengler Cup will give him one more chance to show off his skill in an effort to earn a spot on Team Canada when it heads to South Korea in February.

“It’s really cool.  I’m excited to go out there and show them the way I can play, and work hard,” he said. “Hopefully that’s enough to earn me a spot.”


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Dec. 22 against the Binghamton Devils at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Puck drop for the first meeting of the season between the Penguins and Devils is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Individual tickets for all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.


2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

THOMAS SHOOTING FOR OLYMPIC DREAM

Christian Thomas is off to a solid start to the season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, posting six points (2+4) through the team’s first eight games.

But the speedy left wing won’t be in the team’s lineup for it’s upcoming three-game home stand.

No, Thomas isn’t being benched or disciplined.  He’ll actually be overseas shooting for a spot with the Canadian Olympic team.

Thomas is among the players who will be skating for his home country in the Karjala Cup, an annual tournament being held in Sweden, Switzerland and Finland starting on November 8.  This year’s competition is being used as a proving ground for potential Olympians from six countries.

“I never would have thought I would have a chance to play U-17, U-18 as a young hockey player,” said Thomas, who has previously represented his country while a junior player.  “This tournament here, as a good evaluation for the Olympics, is three games.  Just play your best and maybe you can wear that Canada jersey in the Olympics.”

The Winter Olympics have featured National Hockey League players suiting up for their home countries since 1998.  But when the NHL and International Olympic Committee could not come to an agreement for the upcoming Games, which are being held in South Korea, a door was opened for a new group of skaters to take part.

Players participating in European leagues are eligible to participate in the Olympics, as are North American collegiate skaters, and those signed to American Hockey League only contracts.  Thomas is the lone player currently suiting up in the AHL on Canada’s roster.

“I was talking to my agent about it, that I would have a chance  [to make the Olympics] this summer, signing an AHL deal,” said Thomas.  “I got a call from Sean Burke [Team Canada General Manager], and he asked if I would like to join the tournament.  He just needed the go ahead from Pittsburgh to allow me to miss some games here.  I’m really excited to be a part of it.”

Now, just three months from the start of the Pyeongchang Games, Thomas has a chance to live out a dream.

“To represent your country is pretty special,” said Thomas.  “This year having that rule with the NHL players not being allowed to participate really helps out.  But just to be able to put on the Canada jersey is pretty cool.”

NOTES:  Team Canada’s schedule at the Karjala Cup features games against Switzerland (Wednesday, November 8), Sweden (Friday, November 10) and Finland (Sunday, November 12)…Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Andrew Ebbett, Chris Lee and Simon Despres are also on Team Canada’s roster.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ next home game will be on Sunday, Nov. 5, and once again they’ll take on the Hershey Bears. Puck drop for the Sunday matinée between the two bitter rivals is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information