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Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward Christian Thomas Named to Canada’s 2018 Olympic Roster

With the NHL skipping the Olympics, Christian Thomas earns a spot on Team Canada’s final 2018 Olympic roster.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Christian Thomas was called to Team Canada this past November for the Karjala Cup, playing in all three games and scoring one goal as Canada finished 1-2.

He was called again to Team Canada over the 2017 festive season for the Spengler Cup, playing in all four games and recording one assist as Canada ran the table to win the championship.

Now, Thomas has been called to Team Canada one final time this season, for easily the biggest tournament of his life.

Team Canada general manager Sean Burke announced his final roster for the team that will represent the two-time defending Olympic gold medalists from Canada at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Thursday, and Thomas was indeed included on Burke’s final list of 23. The full list can be found here.

Thomas joins the four former Pittsburgh Penguins players and one former Penguins coach named to Team USA for this most unusual Olympic cycle in which no players under NHL contracts will be included, because money, insurance, money, marketing, money...whatever.

Canada, like Team USA, was forced to look overseas to find players not on NHL contracts, as well as domestically for players on AHL contracts and even Canadian Hockey League major/junior players to fill its roster. Thomas, having scored 24 goals and 25 assists for WBS Penguins rival Hershey last season, certainly fit the bill after signing an AHL-only contract with WBS on September 13 and scoring 9 goals and 8 assists for WBS this season through 23 games.

Also named to Team Canada with former Pittsburgh ties were Andrew Ebbett (who played with WB/S and Pittsburgh from 2013-15), Rob Klinkhammer, who briefly played in Pittsburgh for 10 games in between trades in 2014, and somehow Maxim Lapierre (2015). Chris Lee also played for Wilkes-Barre in the 2009-10 season.

The Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament begins on Valentine’s Day, February 14. Team Canada is scheduled to play Switzerland on Thursday, February 15 at 7:10 am EST; the Czech Republic on Friday, February 16 at 10:10 am EST; and the hosts South Korea on Sunday, February 18 at 7:10 am EST. Qualification playoffs will be contested February 19 and 20; quarterfinals will be contested February 20 and 21; semifinals will be played February 23; the bronze medal game takes place February 24 at 7:10 am EST; and the gold medal game will help to close the Olympics on February 25 at 1:10 am EST.