Continuing the Griffins’ long and storied history with the Olympic Games, a record 15 former Griffins took part in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. Eight former Griffins participated as players or coaches in the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, after a then-record 11 alumni played in the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.
A Griffins alum has medaled in each of the last five Olympics. In the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, Niklas Kronwall became the first Griffins alumnus to earn an Olympic medal, winning gold thanks to Sweden’s victory over Finland in the championship game. Valtteri Filppula became the second to medal in 2010 in Vancouver, earning a bronze with Finland. Kronwall then became the first former Griffin to win two Olympic medals by taking silver in 2014 in Sochi alongside fellow Grand Rapids alumni Jonathan Ericsson, Jonas Gustavsson and Gustav Nyquist, completing the Olympic medal spectrum for former Griffins.
The 2018 Games in PyeongChang featured two medal winners, as Alexey Marchenko won gold with the Olympic Athletes from Russia* while Chris Kelly scored the game-winning goal for Canada in the bronze medal game. PyeongChang also saw longtime Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek serve as head coach of the host country’s team in its Olympic debut, while former player Chris Chelios was an assistant coach for the United States squad.
Four alumni reached the podium in 2022 in Beijing. Filppula and Harri Sateri led Finland to its first-ever men’s hockey gold medal, with team captain Filppula joining Kronwall as the only former Griffins to earn two Olympic medals. Meanwhile, Patrik Rybar was named to the tournament's all-star team after backstopping Slovakia to its first Olympic medal in men’s hockey, a bronze. Teammate Tomas Jurco, playing in his second Olympics, became the first player to medal after winning a Calder Cup with the Griffins (2013). With the inclusion of Pat Nagle on the U.S. squad, all three goalies from the Griffins’ 2018-19 campaign – Sateri, Rybar and Nagle – took part in the 2022 Games.
Participated While Playing for the Griffins
|Julien Vauclair||Switzerland||2002/Salt Lake City||11th|
Participated After Playing for the Griffins
|Chris Chelios||USA (asst. coach)||2018/PyeongChang||7th|
|Aigars Cipruss||Latvia||2002/Salt Lake City||9th|
|Pavol Demitra||Slovakia||2002/Salt Lake City||13th|
|Erich Goldmann||Germany||2002/Salt Lake City||8th|
|Jani Hurme||Finland||2002/Salt Lake City||6th|
|Andreas Lilja||Denmark (asst. coach)||2022/Beijing|
|Rastislav Pavlikovsky||Slovakia||2002/Salt Lake City||13th|
|Robert Petrovicky||Slovakia||2002/Salt Lake City||13th|
|Andrei Sryubko||Ukraine||2002/Salt Lake City||10th|
|Libor Sulak||Czech Republic||2022/Beijing|
* Olympic Athletes from Russia - After the International Olympic Committee suspended the Russian Olympic Committee due to doping allegations, clean Russian athletes were invited to compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia under a neutral flag at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Participated Before Playing for the Griffins
|Slava Butsayev||Unified Team||1992/Albertville||Gold|
|Chris Chelios||USA||2002/Salt Lake City||Silver|
|Curtis Joseph||Canada||2002/Salt Lake City||Gold|
|Michael Nylander||Sweden||2002/Salt Lake City||5th|