The Washington Capitals will be represented at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships, as Haakon Hanelt will take the ice after making Team Germany.
Hanelt earned an invite to Germany’s training camp following a standout showing at the Capitals development camp in mid-July. He ultimately made the roster and will wear No. 19 with Germany, who kicks off their WJC run on Aug. 9 against the United States.
The Berlin native has rallied from an adversity-filled post-draft year. Hanelt, who went in the fifth round of the 2021 NHL Draft, didn’t skate much in the Captials 2021 training camp and ultimately reported to the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympique for his rookie CHL season. His strong start was interrupted in late October when he suffered a devastating shoulder injury that would require surgery.
He missed roughly four months of his first season in North America, and he was also sidelined for first World Juniors back in December which was ultimately canceled due to COVID-19. Hanelt returned to the ice in April and ended up dishing two goals and eight assists through 16 regular-season games. He then added two goals in six playoff games.
Now, Hanelt said that his shoulder is 100 percent, and now, he feels that he is able to truly show what he can do on the ice in D.C. and beyond.
“Feels awesome because I finally can prove like what I’m capable of,” Hanelt said at development camp. “Last year was tough, but I mean, it’s part of hockey. So I’m getting into it.”
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The 19-year-old has quick hands and good vision. He can make great passes and be aggressive on the forecheck, and he’s not afraid to engage in puck battles. Hanelt is also an extremely versatile player. He can play center, and though he’s most comfortable there, he is also comfortable playing on either wing and has even played defense.
“I don’t think that would be good,” Hanelt laughed when asked if he’d ever play goalie.
Now, the 6-1, 189-pound forward will get to continue his comeback with Team Germany and play on the world stage, which should put him one step closer to his ultimate goal of cracking the NHL and going from a dark-horse selection to a pro that is building his own legacy.
The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships will take place from Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton.