Jan Benda, born to Czech parents in Belgium, played his junior hockey in Canada with the Oshawa Generals and played professionally in leagues in Germany, the U.S., and the Czech Republic before making the leap to the National Hockey League with the Washington Capitals. The globetrotting Benda, born on March 28th, 1972 in Reef, Belgium, played just nine games with the Caps, assisting on three goals, while spending the bulk of the 1997-98 season with Washington's AHL affiliate in Portland.
Benda headed back overseas following his NHL experience, this time landing in Finland, where he played three successful seasons. He scored 21, 19, and 18 goals, respectively, in three seasons in Finland and caught the attention of the Edmonton Oilers, who signed him as a free agent in the summer of 2001. Benda went to recorded a goal and an assist during the pre-season, but was released by the club in the latter stages of training camp. Upon being released by the Oilers, Benda returned overseas and has continued to shop his services around the German, Finnish and Russian leagues.
On the international scene, Benda has represented Germany at eight World Championships (1994, 1996-1997, 2001-2005), the World Cup (1996 and 2004) and three Winter Olympics (1994, 1998 and 2002).