Hänelt played just seven games for the Olympiques in the 2021-22 season before being sidelined with the shoulder injury. He recorded five points, but none in his last three games when he was dealing with the injury. Hanelt had time to come to terms with the idea that an operation was inevitable and his dream of competing in the 2022 World Junior Championship was once again not to be.
“I played despite the pain in my last three games. After missing the last U20 World Championship and the U18 World Championship, I had hoped I could play despite the injury, but I had to resign myself to correcting the problem now,” said Hanelt.
“When I found out I had a third missed date (tournament) in a row, it hit me hard. It took a few weeks to recover. I wanted to show what I could do on the biggest stage in junior hockey and redeem my missed experience last year. I can’t change anything now. I have one last hope for next year,” Hanelt told LeDroit.
Hanelt returned to play the final nine games of the regular season, recording a goal and four assists, as he worked his way back into shape for the postseason. He recorded two goals in six games in the playoffs.
Hanelt spent the 2020-21 season playing for the Berlin Polar Bears in the Deutsche Eishockey League (DEL). He was scheduled to participate in the 2021 World Junior Championship, but he and a good percentage of the German team contracted the COVID-19 virus two weeks before leaving for Alberta.
“All the players who were in Berlin got the virus. We were unable to travel to Canada. When the team arrived, there was still an outbreak…I was hoping I could get my place this year, but it looks like I’m not destined to play for my national team.”
Hanelt was slated to participate in the 2021 World U-18 Championship last April in Texas, but was unable to participate. He would miss the tournament due to a shoulder injury he suffered that was similar in nature to the one that landed him on the operating table in November, 2021.
Hanelt made the move from the German league to North America to start the 2021-22 season. “The main reason for coming to Canada is to learn to play on the smaller rinks. My goal is to play in the NHL. I will have a better chance of getting there by continuing my development by playing Canadian junior hockey,” said Hanelt.
Although the upcoming U20 World Cup will be played as a new tournament, the same age groups (born in 2002 and younger) can take part again and the results of the tournament that was canceled in December last year are not included.
FROM TEAM GERMANY
Today at 3:00 p.m. the U20 selection will meet at the Federal Training Center in Füssen to prepare for the U20 World Championship in Canada.
The squad nominated by U20 national coach Tobias Abstreiter for the preparations in Füssen will, in addition to several training sessions, primarily complete team building measures before heading to Edmonton on Sunday, July 31, 2022. Haakon Hänelt, who stayed in the USA after participating in the Washington Capitals’ Development Camp, will also join the team there.
The 2022 World Junior Champion will be determined at Rogers Place from August 9th to August 20th, 2022. There, the German selection will meet the defending champions from the USA in their first game on August 9, 2022 and later in Group B Austria, Switzerland and Sweden. Hosts Canada form Group A together with teams from Finland, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Slovakia.
Although the upcoming U20 World Cup will be played as a new tournament, the same age groups (born in 2002 and younger) can take part again and the results of the tournament that was canceled in December last year are not included, U20 national coach Tobias Abstreiter is increasingly counting on the 2003 vintage “Looking ahead to the World Cup in December, the challenge is to involve younger players now. This gives them the opportunity to gain extensive experience for the next Junior World Championships at the end of the year,” explains Tobias Abstreiter.
The tournament, which was postponed to mid-summer, is a highlight for the U20 national team, but the unusual timing also poses the challenge of introducing the players to the international level in a targeted manner and quickly finding the rhythm for the upcoming tournament. Accordingly, in addition to the usual training sessions on site in Canada, the U20 national team will play two preparatory games against Slovakia (August 4, 2022) and Latvia (August 5, 2022) at Rogers Place.
“Two U20 World Championships in one season are a big challenge for us as an association. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to the upcoming tasks and are well prepared for them,” says Christian Künast, DEB sports director, and Tobias Abstreiter adds: “We are going into the last preparation phase and into the world championship with a good feeling. We have a harmonious team and the boys are hungry.”
MagentaSport shows all group games of the German U20 national team as well as the knockout phase from the quarter-finals live.
The schedule of the German U20 national team
09.08.2022 | 20:00 (German time 04:00 +1) | USA – Germany
08/10/2022 | 20:00 (German time 04:00 +1) | Germany, Austria
08/13/2022 | 20:00 (German time 04:00 +1) | Germany – Switzerland
08/15/2022 | 20:00 (German time 04:00 +1) | Sweden – Germany