Tom Kostopolous, a 1999 Penguins draft pick, and long-time leader and captain of the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins is hanging up the skates for good at the end of the season.
From the team:
“I’ve been lucky to make a living playing the game I love for the past 19 seasons,” said the 39-year old Kostopoulos. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, but I’m looking forward to spending more time with my wife, Lisa, and kids, Lily and Luc, away from the rink.”
“No player has meant more to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, or represented the organization better, than Tom Kostopoulos,” said team CEO Jeff Barrett. “His commitment to the team, his teammates, the fans and the local community make him a truly unique individual, and one we are extremely lucky to have known for almost 20 years.
Kostopolous has been an institution in Wilkes-Barre and has literally been there since the very beginning, his first pro season was the WB/S Pens first season in 1999-2000. TK left the Pens organization as a free agent in 2004 and his NHL playing days took him to Los Angeles, Montreal, Carolina and Calgary until he returned home in 2012. He’s spent the last few seasons on an AHL only contract, having no NHL aspirations, just wanting to stay in Wilkes-Barre and play for the Penguins and keep his family stable there.
Kostopolous was the only player in the Penguins organization this year born in the 1970’s and likely will be the final one as well. (Matt Cullen and Chris Kunitz were the final two players to appear at the NHL level for the organization last year). Kostopolous is one of just 4 players to have played 600+ games in both the AHL and NHL. That’s remarkable durability and a tremendous career coming to a close for the most important and longest-lasting player in Wilkes-Barre history .