The only player eligible to join in this year’s World Championship, forward Valtteri Filppula tonight joined Triple Gold Club by virtue of winning his second Gold Medal in three months with the Leijonat, becoming the 31st male and first Finnish player to join the club, adding to his Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold medal.
After starting his pro career with Jokerit Helsinki, Filppula debuted in North America in the Detroit Red Wings’ farm system, who drafted him in 2002. He debuted for the Red Wings in 2005, spending eight years in the Motor City, where he would capture the Stanley Cup in 2008. Filppula would spend another four seasons in Tampa Bay, two in Philadelphia, one with the New York Islanders and his final two NHL seasons back in Detroit, returning to Europe in 2021 to join Genève-Servette of the Swiss League, ensuring he could join the national team for the Beijing Olympics.
Filppula first joined the Leijonat in their junior system, winning a pair of Bronze Medals at the 2003 and 2004 World Juniors. Thanks to his early NHL success, Filppula did not join the senior team until the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, winning Bronze, debuting at the World Championships in 2012. Filppula also competed for Finland at the 2016 World Cup Of Hockey, and made his second World Championship appearance in 2017. He would not return to the national team until their historic 2022 double, first winning Olympic Gold over the Russian Olympic Committee in Beijing, followed by World Championship Gold over Canada on home ice in Tampere, marking the first Olympic and World Championship win in the same year since Sweden’s double in 2006.
Filppula becomes the sixth player to join the Club with the World Championship as the final win (after Scott Neidermayer, Jaromír Jágr, Jiří Šlégr, Sidney Crosby and Corey Perry), and the fifth to win in the order of Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold and World Championship Gold, after all aforementioned players but Šlégr. Filppula also becomes the nineteenth forward to join the Club, and as mentioned is the first Finnish player to join.
Our congratulations go out to Valtteri Filppula on his achievement in joining this prestigious club of international hockey stars!
Photo Credit: IIHF Worlds 2022 – IIHF – HHOF – IOC