Wojciech "Wojtek" Wolski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈvɔjtɛk ˈvɔlski]; born February 24, 1986) is a Polish-Canadian professional ice hockey left winger currently playing for Kunlun Red Star of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Wolski won the Gagarin Cup in 2016 with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. He has also previously played in the National Hockey League (NHL), for the Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals. During the 2012–13 NHL lockout, he played for Ciarko PBS Bank KH Sanok in the Polska Liga Hokejowa, the top-tier hockey league in Poland.
With the Panthers in 2012
February 24, 1986|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (191 cm)|
|Weight||215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)|
Kunlun Red Star|
New York Rangers
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod
21st overall, 2004|
While he holds dual citizenship, Wolski is a product of the Canadian training system and is currently ineligible to represent Poland internationally. He was selected to represent Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Wolski was drafted in the first round, 21st overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche. It was originally believed he would be the 10th-15th pick, but some teams passed on him because he was charged with assault causing bodily harm by Toronto police shortly before the draft; Wolski allegedly beat and hospitalized another young man his age at a birthday party. The case was dismissed when it was learned Wolski was defending his girlfriend, who had been pushed off a porch.
Prior to being drafted, Wolski attended St. Michael's College School and played for the Buzzers hockey team in 2001–02. Before making the Avalanche roster, he recorded 14 franchise records as a member of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)'s Brampton Battalion, and earned the award for OHL's Most Valuable Player in 2006. Wolski was the OHL Player of the Month an unprecedented four months in a row (December, January, February and March). He was also an alternate captain for Ontario's Under-17 team at the 2003 Canada Winter Games. Wolski played for Canada in the 2004 Canada/Russia Series and was voted Player of the Game (Team Cherry) for 2004 CHL Top Prospects Game.
Wolski made his Avalanche debut in the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs and marked a sensational debut with three points (one goal, two assists). In his first full professional season, he played in the NHL YoungStars Game on January 23, 2007, a part of the 2007 NHL All-Star Game festivities held in Dallas. He recorded two points (two assists) for the Western Conference.
In the 2008–09 season, Wolski demonstrated his scoring talent in shootouts. At season's end, he would score 10 times out of 12 attempts, establishing a single season record in percentage of shootout goals scored. His 14 goals and 28 assists would be good enough to finish third on the Avs with 42 points, behind Milan Hejduk and Ryan Smyth.
On March 3, 2010, Wolski was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter. In his first game with the Coyotes, he scored the game-winning goal against his former team, the Avalanche, with just 22 seconds left in the third period. Three days later, in his second game with the Coyotes, he scored again in a 4–0 win against the Anaheim Ducks. On June 28, 2010, Wolski signed a two-year contract extension with the Coyotes. After joining Phoenix, he switched from the number 8 he wore in Colorado (already in use by Scottie Upshall) to number 86, becoming the second NHL player to wear that number (Jonathan Ferland played seven games for the Montreal Canadiens in 2006 wearing number 86).
In the 2010–11 season, Wolski failed to recapture his scoring pace from after last years trade from Colorado. With a steadily diminished role with the Coyotes, he was traded for the second time within a year to the New York Rangers in exchange for Michal Rozsíval on January 10, 2011. Wolski also failed to click with the Rangers, building a reputation as a player who "would rather not play in tough areas to score", he was a healthy scratch on more than one occasion.
During the 2012–13 NHL lockout, Wolski joined Ciarko PBS Bank KH Sanok, the top team at the time in the Polska Liga Hokejowa, the top-tier hockey league in Poland. He rejoined the Capitals at the start of the NHL season, but was not utilized much during the lockout-shortened season. Wolski produced 4 goals and 5 assists in 27 games with the Caps.
Wolski signed with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) on May 20, 2013. After two successful seasons within Novgorod, he moved to Metallurg Magnitogorsk in signing a lucrative two-year deal on May 1, 2015. Wolski won the Gagarin Cup in 2016, his first season with Metallurg. On October 13, 2016, Wolski broke his neck and suffered a concussion in a freak accident during the game between Metallurg and Barys Astana, which left him unable to play for the rest of the season.
In the 2018–19 season, Wolski contributed offensively on the top scoring line with 15 points through his first 18 games. However, with Metallurg exceeding their foreign player quota with the acquisition of Nick Shore, Wolski was released from his contract on October 19, 2018. As a free agent, Wolski made a return to previous club, Kunlun Red Star, agreeing to a two-year contract to continue in the KHL on October 27, 2018.
During the 2017–18 season, Wolski was selected to represent Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Used in an offensive role, Wolski contributed with 3 goals and 4 points in 6 games to help Canada claim the Bronze medal.
Wolski left Poland with his parents and older brother Kordian in 1989. Two years later, by way of West Germany, they finally landed in Toronto, Ontario. He learned how to skate at a local outdoor skating rink in Etobicoke using his brother's skates, which were a few sizes too big. In order to make them fit, he would wear three pairs of socks and stuff the front of the boot with newspapers. The first NHL game he attended as a young boy saw the Colorado Avalanche face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens. He followed the Avalanche as his favourite team ever since then, and grew to idolize future teammate Joe Sakic before coincidentally being drafted by Colorado himself. In 2006–07, Wolski dated Canadian actress Ashley Leggat while playing for the Avalanche.
Regular season and playoffsEdit
|2001–02||St. Michael's Buzzers||OPJHL||33||16||33||49||40||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||New York Rangers||NHL||37||6||13||19||8||5||1||2||3||0|
|2011–12||New York Rangers||NHL||9||0||3||3||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|2013–14||Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod||KHL||54||19||19||38||60||7||1||2||3||2|
|2014–15||Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod||KHL||52||23||20||43||36||5||2||2||4||8|
|2017–18||Kunlun Red Star||KHL||32||7||21||28||42||—||—||—||—||—|
|2018–19||Kunlun Red Star||KHL||26||5||8||13||10||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and honoursEdit
|First All-Star Team||2003–04|
|Top Draft Prospect Award||2003–04|
|Second All-Star Team||2005–06|
|Red Tilson Trophy||2005–06|
|William Hanley Trophy||2005–06|||
|CHL Canada Post Cup||2005–06|
|NHL YoungStars Game||2006–07|
- "Pee-Wee players who have reached NHL or WHA" (PDF). Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Ladysz, Rafal (August 25, 2009). "Overlooked and Underrated: Wojtek Wolski". thehockeywriters.com. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
- "Brick road paves way for Wolski". The Rocky Mountain News. December 12, 2007. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
- "Coyotes get Wolski for Mueller, Porter". NHL. March 3, 2010. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
- "Coyotes' Wolski beats former Avs teammates with late goal". The Sports Network. March 4, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
- "Rangers trade Michal Rozsival for Wojtek Wolski". Daily News. New York. January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
- "Wojtek Wolski to NY for Michal Rozsival". ESPN. January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
- Matheson, Jim (April 2, 2011). "Hockey World". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on August 17, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- "Panthers acquire Wolski from Rangers for Vernace, pick". The Sports Network. February 25, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
- "Caps sign Wojtek Wolski to one-year deal". The Washington Post. July 11, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- "Metallurg has signed contracts" (in Russian). Metallurg Magnitogorsk. May 1, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
- "Информация о состоянии Войтека Вольски". www.metallurg.ru (in Russian). October 14, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
- "Metallurg terminate contract with Wojtek Wolski" (in Russian). Metallurg Magnitogorsk. October 19, 2018. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
- "Wolski signs two-year contract with Kunlun" (in Russian). Kontinental Hockey League. October 27, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "Hockey Canada announces men's olympic roster". Sportsnet.ca. January 2, 2018. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- "Wolski named most sportsmanlike player". oursportscentral.com. Ontario Hockey League. April 10, 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
- "Magnitogorsk wins 2nd Gagarin Cup in 3 years". rt.com. April 19, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.