John Wiitala


Player profile

  • Year Senior
  • Height 6-0
  • Weight 185
  • Hometown Lakeville, Minn.
  • Junior Team Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)

Ohio State Career

  • Four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection
  • Member of second senior class in program history to make three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a 2018 Frozen Four trip (second in program history), and part of program’s first Big Ten regular season title in 2019
  • Earned bachelor’s degree in finance in Spring 2019
  • Awarded Woody and Anne Hayes scholarship for postgraduate studies at 2019 Ohio State Scholar-Athlete Dinner
  • Played in 148 career games, with 38 goals and 35 assists for 73 points, posting +28 rating
  • Did not miss a game his last three years and ended career playing in 139 consecutive games
  • Traveled to Puerto Rico on service-learning trip with a group from the department of athletics in Summer 2018, working with Soles4Souls (Trip Blog)


  • Attended Minnesota Wild development camp as a free agent invitee in Summer 2017

2018-19 (Senior Season)

  • Played in all 36 games, with 9-8-17 line and +9 mark
  • Point in four of last five games (3g, 2a), with +1 mark in four of the five
  • Two points, with power play goal and an assist, at Michigan Feb. 23
  • Scored on the power play in the third period at Wisconsin Feb. 8 to tie game at one (in eventual 2-1 OT win)
  • Won faceoff that led to third period insurance goal vs. Notre Dame Feb. 2
  • Two points, with a power play goal and an assist, at Michigan State Jan. 5
  • Goal at Minnesota Nov. 30 and vs. Michigan State March 1
  • Set up third-period gamewinner at Colgate Nov. 10
  • Goal in game one, assist (on third period gamewinner) in game two vs. Penn State Nov. 23-24
  • Earned Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honors

2017-18 (Junior Season)

  • Played in all 41 games, with 8-11-19 line; Point in eight of last 16 games (2g, 6a, 8p)
  • +2 vs. Denver in NCAA Midwest Regional March 25; Part of line that shut down top line for Princeton and Denver
  • Assist in B1G Tournament semifinals vs. Michigan March 10
  • Goal and +2 in each Big Ten quarterfinal game vs. Michigan State March 2-3
  • Helper and +2 vs. Wisconsin Feb. 24
  • Assist in each game at Notre Dame Feb. 9-10, with two shot blocks in game one
  • Helper vs. Michigan Jan. 27 and vs. Michigan State Feb. 3
  • Assist in game one at Michgian State Jan. 5, with go-ahead goal in third period in game two Jan. 6
  • Goal vs. Niagara Dec. 30
  • Assist vs. Minnesota Dec. 9
  • Power play goal vs. Robert Morris Oct. 27 and at Michigan Nov. 24
  • Assist in both games vs. RPI Oct. 13-14 and at UMass Oct. 20
  • Scored in each game at Wisconsin Oct. 6-7 to open the season
  • Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honoree

2016-17 (Sophomore Season)

  • Played in all 39 games and had 10 goals, nine assists and 19 points
  • Seven-game point streak Oct. 21-Nov. 11
  • Scored third period gamewinner at Michigan State Feb. 17 and had an assist in game two vs. the Spartans
  • Two goals at Robert Morris Nov. 5, with a helper in game one vs. the Colonials Nov. 4
  • First career two-assist game at Minnesota Dec. 3 and was +3 in the win
  • Scored in each game at Niagara Oct. 28-29
  • Opened season with goal in both games of the Ice Breaker Tournament; tallied eventual gamewinner vs. Denver Oct. 7 and scored in third period of tie vs. Air Force Oct. 8
  • Power play goal at Michigan Feb. 4, helping Buckeyes to comeback win
  • Scored on a breakaway at Penn State Jan. 21 and had three blocks in the game
  • Empty net goal vs. Penn State Jan. 6 to seal win
  • Assist in each game vs. Bowling Green Oct. 21-22
  • Earned Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honors

2015-16 (Freshman Season)

  • Skated in 32 games (including last 23) and had 11 goals, seven assists and 18 points
  • Led squad with three gamewinning tallies, with all three coming in the third period
  • Goal in each game vs. Wisconsin Feb. 26-27; drew Ohio State within one (4-3) with third period goal in game one, an eventual 4-4 overtime tie, and scored gamewinner with 2:49 left in game two
  • Third period gamewinner and an assist at Penn State Feb. 20
  • Scored gamewinning goal on the power play in the third period of 3-2 win over Boston College Dec. 28 in Florida tournament
  • Goal, assist and two points vs. Cornell in tournament final
  • Tally and +2 mark vs. Michigan State in Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, with goal coming 38 seconds into the game
  • Scored on the power play late in the first period at Michigan March 4 to put Ohio State ahead in eventual 7-4 win
  • Two points in series vs. Minnesota Feb. 12-13, with assist in game one and goal in game two
  • Power play goal and an assist for two points Jan. 15 vs. Michigan and had a helper at Michigan Jan. 17
  • First career goal came Oct. 24 at Providence and also scored Oct. 31 vs. Mercyhurst
  • An Ohio State Scholar-Athlete

Prior to Ohio State

  • Skated three full years with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL
  • Played in 60 games in 2014-15 and had 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 points
  • Skated in 56 games in 2013-14 and posted a 9-14-23 line for regular season championship squad; also played in 12 playoff contests as team lost in game five of the Clark Cup championship
  • 6-5-11 line in 51 games for the Black Hawks in 2012-13 and earned team’s Most Improved award
  • Played for Lakeville South High School, posting 23 points in 25 games, with eight goals and 15 assists, in 2011-12; squad reached state tournament semifinals
  • Graduated from Waterloo West High School in 2013
  • Also played lacrosse and golf

Off the Ice

  • Son of Martin and Jeannine and has a sister, Emily
  • Father played at Wisconsin (1983-86), serving as captain as a senior, was drafted by the North Stars in the fifth round of the 1982 NHL Draft and played professionally in Vienna, Austria
  • Finance major
  • Enjoys fishing, golfing and swimming
  • Attracted to Ohio State because of the combination of a great education and a great hockey program
  • Father put him on skates when he was 2 or 3 and has been playing ever since
  • Favorite player is Pavel Datsyuk because of his unbelievable play with the puck and because he is one of the most exciting players in the world to watch
  • Has traveled extensively, including to Tanzania, Africa, Dominican Republic, Russia and Mexico
  • Pick one: Movie – Talladega Nights; Television show – Blacklist; Music – Drake, Coldplay; Professional team – Minnesota Wild; Homecooked meal – steak; Celebrity – Blake Lively; Vacation spot – Fort Myers, Fla.; Magazine – The Hockey News; Hockey Rink – Xcel Energy Center

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