It took a while to get there, but the 2020 Tokyo Olympics finally happened, just a year late. It was much anticipated, and filled with what makes sports incredible: bringing people together literally from all over the world in an unprecedented time to represent their countries, and hopefully inspire their fellow countrymen and women to work hard, follow their dreams, and unite together in love amidst what’s been a challenging, difficult year for us all.
Well, guess what? If you thought that was amazing, we’ve got just five months until the next Olympics. The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is just around the corner, as the Winter Games are set to start in February 2022. You already know basketball and track & field are a staple to the Summer Games, and come winter one of the main events is hockey (and bobsledding, skiing, & figure skating of course).
With recent news that NHL players will participate in the 2022 Beijing Olympics, I thought why not have a go at where the Red Wings would suit up for if they were to get the honor of being selected to play for their national team on this international stage.
It’s one thing to don the red and white, it’s another to add blue in their to represent the red, white, and blue playing for Team USA. If you needed any evidence for this, just watch the classic film “Miracle” (one of my all-time favorite movies, just in case you were wondering).
And with hockey obviously being such an international game, whether these guys play for Team USA, Team Canada, Switzerland, Norway, or Finland, the pure joy and honor to play for your nation brings with it just a whole other level of honor, camaraderie, and the thrill of making the podium to represent your entire country. Not only is your country rooting for you, but there’s people from all over the world taking in hockey on the biggest stage there is in the sport.
The Red Wings roster is no exception for international talent. If you know hockey, and specifically Hockeytown, you know how much players like Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidström, Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe, and current Wings’ general manager Steve Yzerman mean to the winged wheel.
This year’s roster also features many players from around the world, with a majority from Europe. In case you were interested in diving further into this, the Red Wings’ first episode of “The Winged Wheel” this year actually gets in to how the franchise has historically done a good job scouting and getting prospects from Europe specifically.
So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, here’s where the current roster would be playing for if they were to make the Olympics. Take a guess at how many countries the Wings are representing currently.
Got your guess? Cool. I’ll reveal the answer at the end of this. In the meantime, buckle up, keep your arms, hands, and feet in at all times, and enjoy this flight around the world to see what countries these Red Wings are from.
Note: the current roster and birthplace of each player is according to NHL.com, along with NHL’s pages of Wings’ former players. In the parenthesis of each headline, you’ll find ‘team’ and the country name in the language of that country (per Google translate). So, you’re welcome for also learning a new language, or two, or three…in this article.
Cue the Olympics podium ceremony music. Here we go! We’re starting our journey in Europe.
Team Sweden (Arbetslag Sverige)
When you think of Sweden and the Red Wings, hmmm…yeah I know who you’re thinking of: Lidström. Could one of these guys represent Sweden like he has? One of them at least has a similar last name and is playing the same position.
- Jonatan Berggren – RW (Uppsala, Sweden)
- Lucas Raymond – LW (Gothenburg, Sweden)
- Gustav Lindstrom – D (Ostervala, Sweden)
- Victor Brattstrom – Goalie (Göteborg, Sweden)
Team Czech Republic (Tým Česká Republika)
Just under a two-hour flight from Stockholm to Prague (per Travel Math), you’re now entering the Czech Republic, where the Red Wings have two wingers representing.
- Jakub Vrana – LW (Prague, Czech Republic)
- Filip Zadina – RW (Pardubice, Czech Republic)
Team Switzerland (Mannschaft Schweiz)
Note: the above name is in German because according to Studying in Switzerland’s Vesa Merxha, “(T)he German language is spoken in the eastern and central parts of Switzerland. The majority (about 60%) of the population speak Swiss-German, otherwise known as Schwiizertütsch, which is a combination of various dialects that were once spoken in Austria and Germany.”
- Pius Suter – C (Zurich, Switzerland)
Team Russia (команда Россия) – Russian Olympic Committee
This guy look familiar? Namestnikov could represent in the Olympics like his fellow countryman Pavel Datsyuk, who deeked out defenders left and right with the Wings, did.
- Vladislav Namestnikov – C (Zhukovskiy, Russia)
Team Germany (Mannschaft Deutschland)
From Russia to Germany, for the Wings this year, the Germans have the defense covered.
- Moritz Seider – D (Zell, Germany)
- Thomas Greiss – Goalie (Fussen, Germany)
Team Canada (Équipe Canada)
Note: In parenthesis is French as you may already know that French is the country’s second official language with English being the most commonly spoken (per the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages).
Making a long flight from Germany to Canada, you’re entering one of the most hockey-loving countries in the world. As you’ll see, Canada’s got most of the Wings’ roster covered. This is no different than many of the Wings’ rosters throughout the franchise’s history (Shanahan, Lindsay, Howe, Yzerman, the list goes on).
- Tyler Bertuzzi – LW (Sudbury, Ontario, Canada)
- Robby Fabbri – C (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada)
- Sam Gagner – C (London, Ontario, Canada)
- Michael Rasmussen – C (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada)
- Carter Rowney – RW (Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada)
- Mitchell Stephens – C (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada)
- Seth Barton – D (Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada)
- Ryan Murphy – D (Aurora, Ontario, Canada)
- Donovan Sebrango – D (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
- Marc Staal – D (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada)
- Troy Stecher – D (Richmond, British Columbia, Canada)
- Sebastian Cossa – Goalie (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
Driving through the Windsor Tunnel, we’re now back in Detroit and the good ole’ United States of America. U-S-A! U-S-A! If either Larkin, DeKeyser, or Oesterle end up representing America in Beijing, it’d be a win for both the Red Wings and the state of Michigan, as you can see they’re all from the Great Lakes State.
Oesterle recently gave the Wings media a tour of his childhood home and where he played hockey growing up in Dearborn with the Wings. From a small skating rink in Michigan to the Olympics, now that would have to be a dream come true. Not only for Oesterle and these guys but all of their teammates on the list.
- Kyle Criscuolo – C (Southampton, New Jersey, USA)
- Adam Erne – LW (New Haven, Connecticut, USA)
- Dylan Larkin – C (Waterford, Michigan, USA)
- Danny DeKeyser – D (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
- Nick Leddy – D (Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA)
- Wyatt Newpower – D (Hugo, Minnesota, USA)
- Jordan Oesterle – D (Dearborn Heights, Michigan, USA)
- Alex Nedeljkovic – Goalie (Parma, Ohio, USA)
Hey, national teams throughout the world, do you see this? The Wings have some stacked international talent, which I’m sure any one of these countries would be ecstatic to have skate for their nation at the Olympics.
These countries all would be adding a pivotal piece to their nation’s hockey team. It’s fun seeing where in the world each of your Wings are from. Here’s an idea: The team should have a mini-Olympics this year with all these nations represented (or at least a shootout) to see which country comes out on top in Hockeytown.
If you guessed seven countries represented on the team’s roster, you’d be correct. Congrats! Who’s your favorite Red Wings player and which country will you be rooting for in the 2022 Winter Olympics? Let me know in the comments!
We’ll see if any Wings end up donning their country’s colors in Beijing but in the meantime, Wings fans, enjoy this list as you can get an idea of which countries may be tuning in to Detroit games this season with some of their own skating for the red and white.
Charlie Lapastora covers his hometown team (hey hey, Hockeytown!) the Detroit Red Wings with The Hockey Writers. Charlie is a sports/news multimedia journalist who’s reported, written, produced, anchored, shot video/edited on different NBC, ABC, and FOX shows in multiple TV markets, along with digital & new media companies. He has traveled the country telling national sports, news, feature, and original stories on a cable news network, airing on top 10 TV markets, Sirius XM satellite radio, and digital platforms. Stories he’s covered have been featured on CNN, ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox News, & NBC’s The Today Show. Charlie has also worked in professional sports and was the sports host of a digital news show started by Ryan Seacrest and Wanda Syke’s producer.
Charlie is passionate about his faith, being a husband to whom he calls the G.O.A.T. of women, his family, reppin’ his home state of Michigan and Detroit teams (yes, including the Red Wings & Lions), good coffee, and loves how sports brings people together. He’s traveled the world leading and coaching sports camps.
Charlie is also the host of the ‘authentically’ podcast where he features guests of diverse backgrounds and vocations to share their stories, all the while keeping it real in a world of ‘highlight reels’ scrolling on social media, telling stories with integrity and passion.