Former Penguins Who Became Olympians
The Olympics are always filled with excitement, even if you’re not a big sports fan. The competition, pageantry, and heartwarming stories from athletes are moments many look forward to between the long waits between Olympic years. However, for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, the Winter Olympics are often even more exciting because we get to see a few familiar faces on the rink. This year, there will be several former WBS Penguins playing in the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Check out which of our alumni you’ll see at this year’s games.
Former Penguins in the 2022 Olympics
David Warsofsky – Team USA
David Warsofsky will be playing for Team USA and was previously a WBS Penguin during the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2019-20 seasons, during which he served as team captain. While Warsofsky was on the team, he played in 126 games, scored 86 points and was an AHL All-Star.
Alex Grant, Ben Street – Canada
Alex Grant was a WBS Penguin during the 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, and 2012–13 seasons. During these seasons, he played in 125 games and scored 62 points.
Ben Street will also be playing for Canada this year. Street was on the WBS Penguins for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, played in 107 games, scored 80 points.
Tom Kuhnhackl, Matthias Plachta, Freddie Tiffels – Germany
Tom Kuhnhackl was part of the team for the 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, and 2015–16 seasons. During his time as a WBS Penguin, Kuhnhackl played in 154 games and scored 30 points.
Matthias Plachta was a WBS Penguin for the 2015–16 season, playing in 20 games and scoring seven points. This will be Plachta’s second Olympics representing Germany, as he was also on the 2018 team in PyeongChang, where Germany received silver.
Freddie Tiffels played for the WBS Penguins for the 2017–18 season, playing in 12 games and scoring three points.
Lukas Bengtsson – Sweden
Lukas Bengtsson was on the WBS Penguins for the 2016–17 and 2017–18 seasons, during which time he played in 53 games and scored a total of 21 points.
Penguins in Past Olympic Games
2006 – Turin, Italy
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’ quarter-final meeting with the Czech Republic resulted in a 3-1 loss, leading to a fifth-place finish for Surovy and his countrymen.
2010 – Vancouver, Canada
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 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 short 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 matches, 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 (1999-2001) 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.
2014 – Sochi, Russia
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.
2018 – PyeongChang, South Korea
Christian Thomas – Canada
While the WBS Penguins have had many players go on to play in the Olympics, Christian Thomas was the first to be an active member while playing in the Winter Olympics. Thomas scored a game-winning goal during a shutout against South Korea and helped Canada win the bronze medal.
* = former Penguins coaches Dan Bylsma and Todd Richards were behind the bench for Team USA (Bylsma – head coach; Richards – assistant coach)
Support Current and Past Penguins in 2022
There are plenty of chances this year to support the WBS Penguins, whether you’re seeing our current players at a home game, or watching past members represent their countries in the Olympics. Check out what games we have left this season so that you can get tickets, or find out what time our alumni will be playing during the Winter Olympics this year.