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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DONATELLI, FORREST TO LEAD TEAM USA AT HLINKA TOURNAMENT


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins training camp is still more than a month away, but two members of the team’s coaching staff will be back behind a bench later this week.

For the second consecutive season, Clark Donatelli will guide the United States Under-18 Select Team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.  The eight-team tournament will be held in Breclav, Czech Republic and Bratislava, Slovakia, starting on August 7.

Among the assistants joining Donatelli with Team USA will be Wilkes-Barre/Scranton assistant coach, J.D. Forrest.

The tournament features the top players under the age of 18 from the major hockey playing countries.  The teams are split into two groups (Group A – Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, USA; Group B – Canada, Finland, Russia, Slovakia), with each team playing once against the other countries within its group.

The top two teams in each group will advance to play in semifinal and medal rounds, while the lower ranked teams will face off to determine places five through eight.

Donatelli and Forrest were among the coaches and administrators who helped select the team of 22 skaters from a pool of players at USA Hockey’s Boys Select 17 Player Development Camp, held last month in Amherst, NY.

Last year Donatelli led the U.S. to a second-place finish in the competition, guiding the team to a 4-0 record before falling to the Czech Republic, 4-3, in the championship game.

We will have updates after every game online, and J.D. Forrest will be keeping us updated from overseas with blog posts and photos throughout the tournament.  We hope you’ll follow along with us.

The full U.S. team schedule for the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup:

 DATE  OPPONENT  TIME (E.T.)  ROUND  LOCATION
 Thursday, August 3  Hungary U-20  2:00 pm  Exhibition Game  Budapest, Hungary
 Saturday, August 5  Slovakia U-18  11:30 am  Exhibition Game  Bratislava, Slovakia
 Monday, August 7  Sweden  9:30 am  Preliminary Round  Breclav, Czech Republic
 Tuesday, August 8  Switzerland  9:30 am  Preliminary Round  Breclav, Czech Republic
 Wednesday, August 9  Czech Republic  1:00 pm  Preliminary Round  Breclav, Czech Republic
 Friday, August 11  TBD  TBD  TBD  TBD
 Saturday, August 12  TBD  TBD  TBD  TBD

Ivan Hlinka played in 256 games as a member of the Czechoslovakian national team and scored 132 goals in international competition. He also played in 544 games in Czechoslovak league, scoring 347 times.  Hlinka was among the first Czech-born players to suit up in the National Hockey League, joining the Vancouver Canucks in 1981.  He set a Canucks rookie record with 60 points (later broken by Pavel Bure).

In 2000, Hlinka took over the head coaching reigns of the Pittsburgh Penguins, guiding the team to a 42-28-9-3 mark, and a spot in the Eastern Conference Final.  He was killed in an automotive accident in the Czech Republic in August of 2004.

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