Penguins minor leaguer Christian Thomas named to Canadian Olympic roster
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins winger Christian Thomas was one of 25 players named to Canada's men's hockey roster for the 2018 Winter Olympics on Thursday.
With the NHL and International Olympic Committee failing to agree on a plan to send the world's best players to the tournament in South Korea, countries filled their rosters primarily with players under contract to teams in the AHL and European professional leagues.
Thomas, a 25-year-old, 5-foot-9 scoring winger, has nine goals and 17 points in 23 games with the Baby Pens this season, playing on an AHL deal. He has played 27 career NHL games with Arizona, Montreal and the Rangers. He is the son of longtime NHL forward Steve Thomas.
"It's a dream come true," Thomas said in a release. "You never believe growing up that you'll have the chance or an opportunity to play in an Olympics. It's just a great opportunity."
Also included on Canada's roster were former Penguins center Andrew Ebbett and former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman Chris Lee.
Former Penguins Max Talbot and Simon Despres, who are playing in Russia's KHL this season, were among the candidates who did not make the cut.
Former Penguins Ryan Malone of Upper St. Clair and Dylan Reese of Mt. Lebanon were among the roster hopefuls who did not make the cut when the U.S. roster was announced earlier this month.
Penguins director of player development Scott Young will be an assistant coach for Team USA. Former Penguins Noah Welch, Chris Bourque and Mark Arcobello are on the roster.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.