The end of mandatory Covid-related quarantines has certainly expedited international travel for those Capitals’ prospects that need to cross the US/Canadian border for various hockey activities. For the previous two seasons, players were required to spend up to a week in quarantine each time they entered the US or Canada, thus resulting in up to two weeks of total quarantine time just for a prospect to participate in a single Capitals’ camp.
What a difference a year makes. Capitals forward prospect Haakon Hanelt was officially cut from the Capitals training camp roster on Monday and participated in the Gatineau Olympiques practice Tuesday morning in Quebec.
Des sourires et des retours ce matin. 😁
— Olympiques de Gatineau (@OlympiquesGAT) September 27, 2022
Hanelt met with the Gatineau media earlier this week, and discussed his most recent visit to Washington.
“I’m not hurt this time! So I spent more time on the ice at the Capitals camp (Washington),” Hanelt told LeDroit. “I had more fun and learned a lot. My first non-competition (pre-season game) match was really exciting. I feel much better than at the same time a year ago.”
According to LeDroit, Hänelt spent most of his summer in Montreal where he trained at the same complex as his Gatineau teammate Noah Warren and fellow Capitals prospect Hendrix Lapierre.
“At first, I went to the NHL draft to encourage Noah there, but I stayed to train with him. I had started doing it before the draft and then I came to train in Gatineau too.”
Hänelt completed his summer by representing his country at the World Junior Championship. The opportunity to play in an international tournament was a long time coming for Hanelt, who missed the previous three international events due to a Covid outbreak and two personal injuries.
“I would have liked to have won a medal, but I was happy to play in the tournament after missing it twice due to injuries. I also missed the World Under-18 Championship. I hope to be able to represent my country again this year with an increased role.”
Hanelt, 19, doesn’t turn 20 until next June, thus making him eligible to play for Team Germany in this December’s 2023 World Junior Championship.
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 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 and the Gatineau Olympiques next hit the ice on Saturday when they host the Quebec Remparts.
By Jon Sorensen