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Brotherhood: With Lapierre & Iorio, Hanelt Finding Confidence With Capitals

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Washington Capitals

ARLINGTON, V.A. — At Washington Capitals rookie camp, Haakon Hanelt, Vincent Iorio and Hendrix Lapierre are nearly inseparable. The trio refers to themselves as “three peas in a pod,” and stay in touch constantly as they chase the NHL together. And in addition to that, Iorio and Lapierre have taken to helping their good friend in Hanelt raise his self-confidence.

Hanelt was the only forward that Washington took in the 2021 NHL Draft. The German is coming off an odd post-draft year, where he posted strong numbers but was limited to just 18 QMJHL games in his rookie North American season due to a shoulder injury. Since then, Hanelt has been a man on a mission. However, his drive and work ethic has, at times, made him his own worst critic.

“I think sometimes he puts a little too much pressure on himself. I tried to tell him that. Sometimes I’ll see him play and he’ll be like, ‘I played so bad today. You shouldn’t have watched that.’ And I’m like, ‘Come on Hank, you can’t always play super well.’ We kind of make fun of him about that because he always says he plays bad.

“I think he really showed what he was made of [at cam] because last year, he had his shoulder,” Lapierre added. “Then he had a couple little problems, so this was his first real development camp. And I think he put himself in a really good position… Hopefully, he can arrive at the camp very hungry. Started his season in the Q on fire and everything. You hope to grow from there and we can have success at camp.”

READ MORE ON WHN: Washington Capitals Rookie Camp Day 3 Takeaways

In fact, Hanelt has only impressed over the last few months. After a strong development camp and an impressive end to the QMJHL season after his return from injury with the Gatineau Olympiques, he earned a spot on Team Germany for the 2022 World Junior Championships in August. There, he scored a goal and helped the Germans make it all the way to the quarterfinal.

“You’re playing against the best players in that age group basically in the world. You learn a lot from the other guys you’re playing against,” Hanelt said of his trip to Edmonton for the WJC. “The speed is definitely a little bit higher… I think you’re quick to that game. You can use it in your normal season a little bit.”

Hanelt admits to putting too much on himself, though, and says that it’s something that he’s working on as he works toward earning an NHL entry-level deal with the Capitals.

“I always have that little problem that I was pretty hard on myself. If something doesn’t go the way I want it to, I’m basically pretty, really rough on myself,” Hanelt said.

Hanelt Ready To Prove Worth, ‘Make Own Statement’ With Capitals

That’s where Lapierre and Iorio come in. The two have taken Hanelt under their wing, and with that comes boosting No. 65’s confidence and making him feel at home.

“We call him Hank,” Iorio, who goes by either Vincent, Vinny or “Vincenzo,” said. “Lappy’s super funny around him. And the three of us actually, we’re just three peas in a pod. It’s pretty funny.”

“The relationship with Lappy is great. We worked out together in the summer before I went to World Juniors and we keep in touch all the time. Also with Vinny, we call each other pretty much at least twice every two weeks or something,” Hanelt noted, also saying, “Lappy’s trying to help me a little bit [in the confidence department]. I’ll be better at that at some point.”

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