His first year away from the Detroit Red Wings is proving to be a big one for Valtteri Filppula. Already a Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings in 2007-08, he captained Finland to the Olympic gold medal earlier this year in Beijing.
“It was a long time ago,” Filppula told IIHF.com of his Detroit Cup triumph. “My second full year of playing in the NHL and I have nothing but good memories from that Red Wings team.
“It’s definitely the biggest thing I’ve won in hockey and obviously the Olympics is another huge thing. It’s just a little different when it’s a tournament whereas the Stanley Cup is something you play for the whole year.”
Leading Finland into the IIHF World Championship quarterfinals on home ice against Slovakia – whose captain is also an ex-Red Wings player in Tomas Tatar of the New Jersey Devils – Filppula is three wins away from his first world title.
Three months ago, Filppula captained @leijonat to an Olympic gold medal in Beijing, China. Now, he’s one of several returning players looking to do it all again, this time on home ice.🇫🇮
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 25, 2022
Should he get that win, Filppula would gain entry into one of hockey’s most exclusive groups – the Triple Gold Club. He’d be the first Finn to earn entry into the fraternity.
“I’ve heard about that, yeah,” Filppula said. “But I think the bigger thing would be to just win this tournament with the guys.”
According to the IIHF, over 15,000 players have skated in the World Championship. Some 9,000 have sought to win the Stanley Cup. And approximately 4,000 set out in pursuit of Olympic Gold.
Only 29 players have won all three.
Filppula Would Be No. 30
Were Filppula to win the worlds, he’d be the 30th member of the Triple Gold Club. He’d also be the 10th among that group who won their Stanley Cup while playing for the Red Wings.
Four of Filppula’s teammates with the 2007-08 Cup champion Red Wings are already in the Triple Gold Club. Niklas Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg and Mikael Samuelsson were teammates for all three of their successes – the 2007-08 Detroit Stanley Cup and 2006 Olympic and World titles with Sweden.
Pavel Datsyuk was a Stanley Cup champion with the the Wings in 2001-02 and 2007-08. He won the Worlds with Russia in 2012 and the Olympics with the Russians in 2018.
Nicklas Lidstrom was a four-time Cup champion in Detroit – 1996-97, 1997-98, 2001-02 and 2007-08. He’d won the World Championship with Sweden in 1991 and earned his Olympic gold medal with Tre Kronor in 2006.
Jiri Slegr was a Stanley Cup champion with the 2001-02 Wings. He won an Olympic gold with the Czech Republic in 1998 and a world title with his country in 2005.
Arriving in Detroit in 1996, Brendan Shanahan was a World Champion already, having won with Canada in 1994. He’d win three Stanley Cups with the Wings in 1996-97, 1997-98 and 2001-02, also earning Olympic gold with Canada in 2002.
Igor Larionov was another three-time Cup winner in Detroit in 1996-97, 1997-98 and 2001-02. He was Olympic champion with the Soviet Union in 1984 and 1988 and World Champion with them in 1982, 1983, 1986 and 1989.
Slava Fetisov won Stanley Cups with the 1996-97 and 1997-98 Red Wings. Playing for the Soviet Union, he was a world champion in 1978, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989 and 1990 and won Olympic titles with the Soviets in 1984 and 1988.
Playing In Switzerland
After finishing up with the Wings in 2021, Filppula signed to play with Servette Geneva in the Swiss League this season and intends to return next season.
Valtteri Filppula 1-0 Finland pic.twitter.com/PwqLDkmall
— Hockey News Hub (@HockeyNewsHub) May 21, 2022
While he’d be honored to join the Triple Gold Club, it isn’t his priority.
“At the end of the day, it would be great to have all three but that’s definitely not the main focus,” Filppula said. “The focus is doing as well as we can with this group and that would be reward enough, I think.”