Konstantin Koltsov represented Belarus at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

When Team Canada hits the ice against Switzerland on Thursday morning, Christian Thomas will become the first active member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to take part in the Winter Olympic Games.

But he’s far from the first player with ties to the team to represent his country at the tournament.

One-time Penguins have suited up for their national teams in each of the past three Olympics. Here’s a quick look at those past Pens and their performances.


Tomas Surovy – Slovakia
A member of the Penguins from 2001-2006, Surovy made his first (but not his last) Olympic appearance for Slovakia at the 2006 Games. He chipped in with one assist during group play, helping his country to a perfect 5-0 mark. The Slovaks’ quarterfinal meeting with the Czech Republic resulted in a 3-1 loss, leading to a fifth place finish for Surovy and his countrymen.


Marc-Andre Fleury – Canada
Fleury spent the entire 2004-05 campaign with Wilkes-Barre, as well as parts of two other regular seasons (2005-06, 2007-08). He didn’t see any action in the tournament, serving as Team Canada’s emergency netminder behind Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo, but still laid claim to a gold medal.

Ryan Whitney won a silve medal with Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver

Ryan Malone , Brooks Orpik, Ryan Whitney – United States
Malone made his pro debut with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, outing up in three games at the end of the 2002-03 season. He appeared in all six games with the Silver Medal squad in Vancouver, posting three goals and two assists.

Orpik appeared in 152 regular season games with the Pens in parts of three seasons, and was a solid defensive presence for the Americans in 2010. He went scoreless in the six games, but finished plus-1 for the tournament.

Whitney spent the entire 2004-05 season, and shorts stints in two others, with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, before representing his country at the Olympics. He went scoreless during the tournament.

Miroslav Satan – Slovakia
Satan spent 10 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton late in the 2008-09 season, posting nine points (3+6) for the club. He posted a goal and an assist in five games during the 2010 tournament – his fourth Olympics appearance – as Slovakia finished fourth overall.

Konstantin Koltsov – Belarus
Koltsov had three stints with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06), posting 46 points (16+30) in 86 games. He picked up two assists in Belarus’ opening game, a 5-3 win over Germany, but went scoreless in the three ensuing match, as his country finished ninth out of 12 teams.  This was Koltsov’s second trip to the Olympics (2002 Salt Lake City).

Patrick Thoresen – Norway
Thoresen appeared in five games with the Penguins during the 2006-07 season, recording six points (1+5) on assignment from the Edmonton Oilers. He picked up three assists in a 5-4 OT loss to the Swiss, and notched another two helpers in a 4-3 loss to Slovakia in the qualification round.

Sven Butenschon – Germany
Butenschon spent two seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (1999-01) posting 75 points (26+49) from the team’s blueline. The Germans dropped all four games they played in the tournament, and Butenschon recorded two penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating.


Olli Maatta – Finland
Maatta made his pro debut with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, suiting up in three postseason games in 2013. The second-youngest member of Team Finland posted five points (3+2) in six games, including a goal in the bronze medal game against the United States.

Brooks Orpik – United States
Orpik helped the US to a perfect record (3-0-0) in group play, and advanced to the medal round with a 5-2 win over the Czechs. The Americans fell in a hard-fought 1-0 decision to Canada in the semifinals, then dropped a 5-0 decision to the Finns.

Michal Rozsival – Czech Republic
Rozsival appeared in 29 games with the Penguins in 2000-01, posting 16 points (8+8). He went scoreless in four games with the Czechs in 2014, who placed sixth out of 12 teams.

Tomas Surovy – Slovakia
Slovakia suffered through group play, posting an 0-2-1 mark before falling to the Czech Republic, 5-3, in qualification play. Surovy netted his lone Olympic goal in that game.

Patrick Thoresen – Norway
Thoresen picked up the lone goal for his country in a 3-1 loss to Canada, and notched an assist in a 3-1 loss to Austria. The Norwegians finished 12th overall in the tournament.

* = former Penguins coaches Dan Bylsma and Todd Richards were behind the bench for Team USA (Bylsma – head coach; Richards – assistant coach)


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The puck will drop at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games on Wednesday, February 14, with a pair of opening round games taking place at 7:10 am Eastern Time. And there will be no shortage of familiar faces for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fans throughout the tournament.

In addition to current Penguins forward Christian Thomas, nine former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will be pulling on jerseys for their national teams in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Here’s a quick look at theses blasts from the past with ties to our team.


Andrew Ebbett (C) – The Canadian forward played parts of two seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2013-15), recording 84 points (30+54) in 88 games. Ebbett also played in 29 playoff games over the two seasons, and scored 15 points (3+12).

Ebbett appeared in 33 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in parts of two seasons (2013-2015), recording seven points (1+6).

The Vernon, BC native also spent time with the Binghamton Senators (2006-2007), Portland Pirates (2007-2008), Iowa Chops (2008-2009), San Antonio Rampage (2010-2011) and Chicago Wolves (2012-2013) in the AHL.

While in the NHL Ebbett suited up for the Anaheim Ducks (2007-2010), Chicago Blackhawks (2009-2010), Minnesota Wild (2009-2010), Phoenix Coyotes (2010-2011) and the Vancouver Canucks (2011-2013). In his eight NHL seasons, Ebbett totaled 224 games and 71 points (26+45).

Ebbett has spent the past three seasons in Switzerland with Bern SC. He currently he has 46 points (13+33) in 47 games with the club this season.

Chris Lee (D) – A journeyman defenseman, Lee spent his final North American season (2009-10) with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, recording 39 points (9+30) in 79 regular season game.

Prior to his time with the Penguins, Lee saw action with the Albany River Rats, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights and the Iowa Stars in the AHL.

He ventured overseas starting in 2010-11, and for the past five seasons has been a mainstay on the blueline for Magnitogrosk Metallurg in the KHL. He finished second on the team in scoring last season with 65 points (14+51) in 60 games.



Ondrej Nemec (D) – Drafted 35th overall in the 2002 Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nemec played part of one season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2003-2004), appearing in seven games and scoring a total of three points (1+2).

After leaving the Penguins, the defenseman returned to Europe where he has played for 14 seasons in the Czech Extraleague and the Continental Hockey League. He currently plays for Brno Kometa in the Czech Republic, and has nine points (5+4) in 38 games.


Matthias Plachta (LW) – Plachta was acquired by the Penguins late in the 2015-16 season, and put up seven points (2+5) in 20 games with the club. He began his only AHL season with the Springfield Falcons, posting another seven points (2+5) in 46 contests.

Plachta returned to his native Germany after his brief foray into North American, and has suited up for the Mannheim Eagles for the past two seasons (as well as for six years before making the jump to the AHL). He currently ranks third on the team with 30 points (11+19) in 49 games.


Patrick Thoresen (LW) – An Edmonton Oilers signee, Thoresen appeared in five games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2006-07, posting six points (1+5) in his short stay with the team. He went on to appear in 29 AHL games with Springfield the following year, recording 26 points (13+13) with the club.

In the NHL, Thoresen combined for 24 points (6+18) in 106 games with the Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers (2006-08), before returning to Europe for the 2008-09 season.

He has spent the majority of the past 10 years with St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL, with whom he currently plays.

The 2018 Games will be the third time Thoresen has represented his country at the Olympics (2010, 2014).


Tomas Surovy (LW) – A fourth round selection in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Surovy spent parts of five seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2001-06), appearing in 239 regular season games with the club.  The left wing currently ranks second on the Penguins’ all-time lists in goals (89) and points (187); is tied for second in game-winning goals (14); and is fourth in power play goals (27).

Surovy appeared in 126 gams with the Pittsburgh Penguins between 2002-2006, posting 59 points (27+32) and 71 penalty minutes.  He has been playing professionally in Europe since the start of the 2006-07 season, and currently suits up for his hometown team, Banská Bystrica HC 05, in the Slovakian Extraleague.

Surovy has previously represented Slovakia at the 2006 Turin and 2014 Sochi Games, recording two points (1+1) in 10 Olympic contests.  He is the seventh former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skater to be named to his national team for the 2018 Winter Olympics.


Bryan Young (D) – A fifth round draft pick (2004) of the Edmoton Oilers, Young appeared in 10 games with the Penguins in 2006-07, recording one assist. He spent the majority of his time in the AHL with the Springfield Falcons (2007-10), and also appeared in 22 games with the Milwaukee Admirals (2006-07).

Young appeared in 17 games with Edmonton over two seasons (2006-08), going scoreless with 10 penalty minutes.

Following the 2009-10 season, Young took his game to South Korea, and has recorded 192 points (39+153) in 283 games with Gangwon High1 and the Daemyung Killer Whales, with whom he currently plays. He became a naturalized citizen of South Korea in 2014, allowing him to represent the country this year.


Chad Kolarik (C) – The Abington, PA native spent one season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2012-13), in which he appeared in 35 regular season games, recording 33 points. He also suited up in 15 playoff games, scoring 11 points.

Before joining the Penguins, Kolarik spent time with the San Antonio Rampage (2007-10), the Syracuse Crunch (2009-10), the Springfield Falcons (2010-11) and the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale (2010-11, 2012-13) in the AHL.  He also appeared in six NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers, recording one assist.

The former seventh round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2004 has spent the past five season playing in Europe. He currently plays in Germany with the Mannheim Eagles, and has 44 points in 44 games this season.

Noah Welch (D) – The Boston, MA native was drafted 54th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2001. Welch spent parts of two seasons with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2005-2007) during which he appeared in 104 games, scoring 50 points. An AHL All-Star in 2007, Welch also saw action with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2005-2007), playing in 27 games and recording six points.

The former second round pick also suited up with the Rochester Americans (2006-2007, 2008-2009) and Chicago Wolves (2009-2011) in the AHL, as well as the Florida Panthers (2006-2009), Tampa Bay Lightning (2008-2009) and the Atlanta Thrashers (2010-2011) in the NHL. Welch totaled 75 games in the NHL and nine points

Welch has been playing in Europe for the past seven seasons. He currently plays in Sweden with the Vaxjo HC and has appeared in 26 games this season.

The schedule for the preliminary round, which features all 12 nations participating in round robin play within their three groups, is listed below.  For a full explanation of the remaining schedule, seeding and rules, visit the International Ice Hockey Federation website.


Wednesday, February 14 7:10am B Slovakia OAR*
Wednesday, February 14 7:10am B USA Slovenia
Wednesday, February 14 10:10pm C Finland Germany
Thursday, February 15 2:40am C Norway Sweden
Thursday, February 15 7:10am A Czech Republic South Korea
Thursday, February 15 7:10am A Switzerland Canada
Thursday, February 15 10:10pm B USA Slovakia
Friday, February 16 2:40am B Slovenia OAR*
Friday, February 16 7:10am C Norway Finland
Friday, February 16 7:10am C Sweden Germany
Friday, February 16 10:10pm A Czech Republic Canada
Saturday, February 17 2:40am A Switzerland South Korea
Saturday, February 17 7:10am B USA OAR*
Saturday, February 17 7:10am B Slovakin Slovenia
Saturday, February 17 10:10pm C Norway Germany
Sunday, February 18 2:40am A Switzerland Czech Republic
Sunday, February 18 7:10am A Canada South Korea
Sunday, February 18 7:10am C Finland Sweden

* = Olympic Athletes from Russia