They’re not amateurs. Nor are they today’s household names. But these 25 Olympians have our attention in PyeongChang ahead of the semifinal.
Like so many athletes who toil with minimal homegrown fanfare outside of an Olympic year, these hockey players have endured and persisted until they finally got the call. It’s been worth the wait, said head coach Willie Desjardins.
“They’ve stuck with it, they won’t give up,” he said at the roster unveiling this week in Calgary. “That’s what our team is about. It’s about guys who have received a no but found a way to make a yes.”
With more than 5,500 NHL appearances combined on the roster, there are still two who never played a single NHL game. One made just one appearance — and cashed in with an assist.
These Canadians compete in leagues around the world, dressing for teams in China, Latvia, Croatia, Sweden, Russia and a place called the Republic of Bashkortostan. Zack Kassian has twice been traded for players on this Olympic roster.
Get to know ’em.
Vey was drafted to the NHL after his first point-per-game season in the WHL and two years later became the highest-scoring player in all of the CHL with 116 points. From there, he moved to the pros with the Manchester Monarchs and quickly became a point-per-game player at that level as well. He played 18 games with the Kings until they sent him to the Canucks where he played his only full season at the NHL level, scoring 24 points in 75 games. Vey played four games for the Flames last season before leaving to play in the KHL this season, where he has 52 points in 50 games for Barys Astana, good for third in league scoring.
Born in Poland but raised in Canada, Wolski is set to represent the Red and White for the first time. The most outstanding OHL player in 2005-06 after a 128-point season, Wolski was a highly touted prospect who broke into the NHL with a 22-goal, 50-point season in 2006-07. Wolski’s best season was a 65-point effort in 2009-10, when he was traded form Colorado to the Coyotes for Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter. He scored just 56 more points in the NHL before leaving to play in the KHL in 2013-14. There, he has been a near point-per-game producer, but sustained a scary neck injury after falling head-first into the boards in 2016. After missing nearly all of last season recovering, Wolski has 34 points in 41 games split between Kunlun Red Star and Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
- 36-year-old right-winger, undrafted, signed 2004 with the Chicago Blackhawks
- NHL games: 725
- NHL points: 316
- NHL teams: Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadian, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche
The Albertan is in his first season in the SHL with Djurgårdens IF Hockey where he has 21 points and 32 penalty minutes in 33 games. His NHL career started in 2005 after the Chicago Blackhawks signed him as an undrafted player out of college. He was suspended twice in three weeks for illegal hits, one against Brent Seabrook and another on Nicklas Backstrom in 2011-12 with the Calgary Flames. The 15-year NHL veteran played the 2016-17 season with the Colorado Avalanche, adding 12 goals to his 163 career total.
- 31-year-old centre, drafted sixth overall in 2005 by the Columbus Blue Jackets
- NHL games: 299
- NHL points: 95
- NHL teams: Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes
The WHL rookie of the year in 2004, Gilbert Brule later was also named MVP of the 2006 Western Hockey League playoffs. That same year, the North Vancouver native led the Memorial Cup tournament with 12 points. In his last NHL season, 2013-14, he laced up for three games for the Phoenix Coyotes and has since played with five teams in the KHL, the latest being Kunlun Red Star in Shanghai.
- 35-year-old left-shooting centre, undrafted, signed 2006 with the Ottawa Senators
- NHL games: 224
- NHL points: 71
- NHL teams: Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, Phoenix Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins
He captained the University of Michigan Wolverines and signed as a free agent before debuting for the Senators’ AHL affiliate in 2006. He played for the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild and signed a number of short-term contracts with the Phoenix Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins. Ebbett signed with Swiss-A club SC Bern in 2015, scored 15 playoff points on the way to a league championship, and is committed to the team through 2019. He’s tied for second in league scoring at 42 points.
- 25-year-old left winger, drafted 25th overall in 2010 by the Florida Panthers
- NHL games: 97
- NHL points: 17
- NHL teams: Florida Panthers, Winnipeg Jets
A first overall pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft, Howden was a member of Canada’s 2011 and 2012 world junior team, winning silver and bronze. After four years of bouncing between the AHL and NHL with the Panthers, he finally made the team full-time in 2015-16, then signed with the Winnipeg Jets as a free agent in 2016 and again played mostly in the AHL. He’s played in Belarus for the KHL’s HC Dinamo Minsk since 2016.
- 37-year-old left-shooting forward, drafted third round in 1999 by the Ottawa Senators
- NHL games: 833
- NHL points: 289
- NHL teams: Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins
A Stanley Cup winner with the Boston Bruins in 2011, the Torontonian played in the OHL for the London Knights and Sudbury Wolves. The Senators traded him to the Bruins for a second-round pick that became Shane Prince, and a year later, Kelly won that Cup. He broke his leg at the beginning of the 2015-16 season before returning to the Senators organization in 2016-17. This season he’s played with Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in Belleville, scoring two points in 12 games.
- 31-year-old left winger, undrafted, signed 2009 with the Chicago Blackhawks
- NHL games: 193
- NHL points: 43
- NHL teams: Chicago Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators, Arizona Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers
No matter where I am in the world, The Tragically Hip always find its way onto a locker room playlist and I always mumble “Canadian” (1/2)
— Rob Klinkhammer (@Bobbyklink) October 18, 2017
Starting his career in the AHL, he signed with the Rockford IceHogs and was called up to the Blackhawks for an injured Patrick Kane for one game in 2010-11. Already on his fourth team in 2015, Klinkhammer was traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Edmonton Oilers, along with a first-round pick, for David Perron. In 2015, he landed a blind-side hit on Johan Franzen that led to a career-ending concussion for the Red Wing, something Klinkhammer sys was accidental and that he feels awful about. He currently plays in the KHL for Ak Bars Kazan, where he has 18 points in 37 games.
- 27-year-old right winger, drafted sixth round in 2009 by the Los Angeles Kings
- NHL games: 20
- NHL points: 4
- NHL teams: Toronto Maple Leafs
The U.S.-Canadian dual citizen wore the Maple Leaf and won a silver medal at the 2010 World Junior Championship. A very successful and productive player in major junior, Kozun won the WHL and CHL scoring titles in 2009-10 when his Calgary Hitmen won the WHL championship. Kozun was drafted by the Kings, but found his way to the Maple Leafs organization, where he finally cracked an NHL roster for 20 games in 2014-15. After that season, he left North America for the KHL where he has been ever since. This season, Kozun has 30 points in 49 games for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv.
- 32-year-old centre, drafted second round in 2003 by the Montreal Canadiens
- NHL games: 614
- NHL points: 139
- NHL teams: Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins
Lapierre spent parts of six seasons with the Canadiens before being traded to the Anaheim Ducks in 2010 and then, months later, to the Vancouver Canucks where he was part of a finger-bitingly tense Stanley Cup Final. He went on to play for the St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins before signing with Modo Hockey Ornskoldsvik in the SHL and then Lugano of the Swiss League, where he has played the past three seasons. This year, he has 29 points in 40 Swiss League games.
- 27-year-old right-shooting centre, drafted second round in 2008 by the Anaheim Ducks
- NHL games: 41
- NHL points: 8
- NHL teams: Winnipeg Jets
In 198 games for the OHL Sudbury Wolves, he nabbed 207 points over four seasons and won a gold medal for Canada at the U18 World Championship in 2008. He mostly played in the AHL, but made his NHL debut with the Winnipeg Jets in 2013. He’s played the past two years in the KHL for Sochi HC, where this season he has 30 points in 43 games.
- 32-year-old left winger, drafted second round in 2005 by the Vancouver Canucks
- NHL games: 546
- NHL points: 251
- NHL teams: Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks
Named AJHL MVP in 2005, Raymond went on to play two years in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with Minnesota-Duluth before signing with the Canucks and playing one season split between the AHL and NHL before becoming a regular for the Canucks. He debuted as a linemate for Henrik and Daniel Sedin and later played regularly with Ryan Kesler. Raymond was part of Vancouver’s run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, where he broke his back after getting hit awkwardly by Bruin Johnny Boychuk. Amazingly, he returned the following season and played in parts of six more NHL seasons before signing with the Swiss League’s Bern SC, where he has 31 points in 29 games this season.
- 34-year-old left-shooting centre, drafted second round in 2001 by the Buffalo Sabres
- NHL games: 738
- NHL points: 524
- NHL teams: Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Edmonton Oilers
As an OHLer with the Kitchener Rangers, he led his team with 87 points and was named rookie of the year in 2000 then, in 2003, he won the Memorial Cup and was named tournament MVP. Roy broke into the NHL in 2003-04 and went on to lead the Sabres with a career-high 81 points in 2007-08. After eight years in Buffalo, Roy went on to play for five other NHL teams, the last being the Edmonton Oilers, for whom he scored 22 points in 46 games in 2014-15. Roy left the NHL in 2015-16 and has played in Switzerland, Russia and is a current member of Linkopings HC in Sweden, where he has 27 points in 31 games.
- 25-year-old right-shooting winger, drafted second round in 2010 by the New York Rangers
- NHL games: 27
- NHL points: 3
- NHL teams: New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Arizona Coyotes
The youngest player on the Olympic men’s hockey team, Thomas had the pleasure of being told he’d made the cut by his father, retired NHLer Steve Thomas. The Torontonian had a successful OHL career with London and Oshawa before breaking into pro hockey for the AHL’s Connecticut Whale in 2011-12. The Rangers traded Thomas to Montreal in 2013, where he played 25 of his 27 career NHL games. Unlike most of the players on Canada’s roster, Thomas still plays in North America. This season he has 19 points in 25 AHL games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
- 26-year-old defenceman, drafted second round in 2009 by the Colorado Avalanche
- NHL games: 84
- NHL points: 24
- NHL teams: Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, Nashville Predators
The North Vancouver-born skater was an impact blueliner for the Saskatoon Blades and lead the WHL in goals from the blue line in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Elliott played 39 games in his rookie NHL season, which is the most he played in his career to this point. A one-time AHL all-star, Elliott played last season in the KHL and this season he has 12 points in 21 games for HV71 in Sweden’s top league.
- 31-year-old left-shooting defenceman, undrafted, signed 2011 by the Minnesota Wild
- NHL games: 1
- NHL points: 1
- NHL teams: Minnesota Wild
— KHL (@khl_eng) November 25, 2017
The Manitoban and University of North Dakota graduate is the Moonlight Graham of the Canadian roster with one NHL game to his name. In his lone appearance for the Wild, he posted an assist before being reassigned to the AHL six years ago. He was traded to the Capitals for a conditional seventh-round pick and left as a free agent to play in the KHL in 2014-15, where he has spent the past four seasons on four different teams. This season, Genoway has 19 points in 51 games for Tolyatti Lada.
- 28-year-old right-shooting defenceman, drafted second round in 2008 by the Columbus Blue Jackets
- NHL games: 129
- NHL points: 23
- NHL teams: Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche
One of the few on the roster to have never played in Europe, Goloubef is a product of the University of Wisconsin where he won an NCAA championship in 2010. He spent six seasons between the Blue Jackets and their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, before he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for Ryan Stanton in 2016. The Buffalo Sabres released him from a PTO this pre-season, and he now plays for the AHL’s Stockton Heat where he has 14 points and 46 penalty minutes in 29 games.
- 30-year-old left-shooting defenceman, drafted third round in 2005 by the Buffalo Sabres
- NHL games: 78
- NHL points: 18
- NHL teams: Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils
In his first year with Buffalo, Gragnani actually spent time on left wing, but became a high-end blue line scorer in the AHL. In 2010-11, Gragnani finished with 60 points in 63 games for the Portland Pirates and was given the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s best defenceman. In 2011-12, Gragnani was traded to Vancouver in a four-player swap that sent Cody Hodgson to the Sabres. Two years later he left to play in Europe for the first time, then returned in North American in 2015-16 for one season in which he played four NHL games for the New Jersey Devils. Gragnani has spent the past two years with Dynamo Minsk of the KHL and this season he has 29 points in 49 games.
- 37-year-old left-shooting defenceman, undrafted
- NHL games: 0
- NHL points: 0
The oldest player on the Olympic men’s roster, Lee played 249 games for five different AHL clubs before leaving for Europe in 2010. He played two years in Germany and one in Sweden before signing with Magnitogorsk Metallurg of the KHL, where he has played the past five seasons. Last season he had 65 points in 60 games and won gold at the World Championship for Canada in the first time he ever represented the country at an international event.
- 30-year-old right-shooting defenceman, undrafted, signed 2008 by the Minnesota Wild
- NHL games: 6
- NHL points: 0
- NHL teams: Minnesota Wild
The Montrealer played in the ECHL and AHL before appearing in six NHL games over two seasons for the Wild. After that, he spent three years in Switzerland’s NLA where he led all defencemen in scoring in 2012-13. Two year slater he returned to North America to take another shot at reaching the NHL, but it never materialized, so he returned to Switzerland and has spent the past two years with SC Bern. This season he has 22 points in 26 games and captained Canada at the Spengler Cup in December.
- 31-year-old right-shooting defenceman, undrafted
- NHL games: 0
- NHL points: 0
The Calgarian competed in the NCAA for the University of Alaska-Anchorage for four years before moving on to the pros an spending most of his North American time in the ECHL. Robinson initially left to play in Norway for a season, then moved to Sweden for two seasons. He’s spent the past five seasons in the KHL and currently has 20 points in 38 games for CSKA Moscow.
- 30-year-old left-shooting defenceman, signed 2014 by the Colorado Avalanche
- NHL games: 23
- NHL points: 3
- NHL teams: Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, New Jersey Devils
A three-time AJHL champion, Stollery spent four years at Merrimack College, never missed a game and was the defensive leader in scoring each season, eventually becoming captain of the team. He spent two full seasons with the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL before getting a one-year contract from the Colorado Avalanche, playing seven games over two seasons for the NHL club. His last NHL appearance was just last season when he managed three assists in 11 games for the New Jersey Devils. He left to play in Europe for the first time this season and has 14 points in 46 games for the KHL’s Dynamo Riga.
- 31-year-old, drafted second round in 2004 by the Carolina Hurricanes
- NHL games: 83
- NHL save percentage: .901
- NHL teams: Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, Arizona Coyotes
After four years with the OHL’s St. Michael’s Majors and Plymouth Whalers, he started his pro career in the AHL with the Albany River Rats and in 2010 debuted in the NHL for Carolina after Cam Ward went out with injury. Peters earned spot starts over the years as a call-up, but never cemented himself as a full-time backup in the NHL and after posting an .888 save percentage in the AHL last season, he left to play in Europe for the first time. This year, Peters has played for both the KHL’s Dynamo Riga and the DEL’s Cologne Sharks, posting .869 and .890 save percentages, respectively.
- 27-year-old, drafted fifth round in 2008 by the New York Islanders
- NHL games: 50
- NHL save percentage: .899
- NHL teams: New York Islanders
The Montrealer improved his save percentage in each of his four seasons with the QMJHL’s Victoriaville Tigres before starting a pro career with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He went up and down between the AHL and the Islanders, but in 2012-13 he was backing up Evgeni Nabokov and played in Game 1 and Game 5 of the 2013 Eastern Conference first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2015, the Tampa Bay Lightning claimed him off waivers, but he was soon traded to the Calgary Flames for futures — he never played an NHL game for either team. Last season he played 14 games in the KHL and currently plays for Medveščak Zagreb in Croatia where he has a .913 save percentage in 22 games. Poulin backstopped Canada to a gold medal at the 2017 Spengler Cup.
- 31-year-old, undrafted, signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2010
- NHL games: 144
- NHL save percentage: .905
- NHL teams: Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens
Named the ECAC’s goalie of the year while playing NCAA hockey with Cornell in 2009-10, the 6-foot-2 Scrivens was never drafted, but joined the AHL’s Toronto Marlies after spending a year in the ECHL. After the 2012-13 lockout Scrivens made it as an NHL backup to James Reimer in Toronto and posted a .915 save percentage in 20 games. After the season ended, though, he was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings with Matt Frattin and a second-round pick for Jonathan Bernier. From there, Scrivens went to Edmonton and in 2015 was sent to Montreal where he played 15 games in his last NHL appearances. Scrivens now plays in the KHL for Salavat Yulaev Ufa where he has a .917 save percentage.