10 things you might not know about Sharks forward Tommy Wingels:
He’s a member of the Advisory Board of the You Can Play Project, an organization created in the memory of Brendan Burke who was the student-manager on Wingels’ Miami University of Ohio team. Burke, who announced to the team he was gay, was killed in an auto accident in February of 2010. You can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation
Burke would regularly hang out on football Sunday’s with Tommy and his college roommate Justin Vaive, son of former NHL All-Star winger Rick Vaive.
Wingels was part of a very interesting 2008 NHL Entry Draft for the Sharks. He was selected in the 6th round (177th overall) hardly a shoo-in spot to crack an NHL lineup. Sharks defenseman Jason Demers and goaltending prospect Harri Sateri were also picked in 2008.
He drew the penalty on Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin in overtime of Game 4 of the first round playoff series this past spring. Patrick Marleau would score on the ensuing power play to clinch the series and a four game sweep.
Tommy is one of 5 former Miami Redhawks who are currently playing in the NHL. Alec Martinez (LA), Ryan Jones (Edmonton), Andy Greene (New Jersey) and the Sharks own Dan Boyle are the others. Boyle was the first ever Miami player to go on to win the Stanley Cup (Tampa, 2004).
Wingels played one season at Miami with Jones. On a memorable night in Edmonton last March both Wingels and Jones scored goals in a 4-3 shootout win by the Sharks.
He’s engaged to be married to a girl he met in college. They’re planning a Summer 2014 wedding in Florida.
His first NHL game was against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Stockholm, Sweden in 2010. He scored his first NHL goal on January 15th, 2012 in front of friends and family at the United Center in Chicago. His first NHL fight was in February, 2012 against Nashville Predators forwardBrandon Yip.
Named the CCHA’s Best Defensive Forward for the 2009-2010 season, Wingels left the Miami University program after his third year to turn pro. However he returned to get his degree in accounting and hopes to someday be a CPA. In anticipation of a possible international job in the future, Wingels speaks Chinese and French. His father Bob is a retired partner at a major Chicago area accounting firm.
Tommy first put on skates at the age of 5 in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, where he grew up. His big jump to AAA hockey came with Team Illinois in 2005. Wingels joins former Blackhawk great and now NBC broadcaster Ed Olcyzk as graduates of Team Illinois who have made it to the NHL.