The 2023 World Junior Championship is set to kickoff on Monday, December 26, as rosters for all teams are beginning to be finalized. Unfortunately for Capitals forward prospect Haakon Hanelt, he will once again miss the annual tournament.
Hanelt was one of 26 candidates to make Team Germany’s final 23-man roster, made the trip to Canada, but did not make the final round of roster cuts. Team Germany released their final roster on Saturday, sans Hanelt:
To make matters worse, Hanelt is dealing with a foot injury he sustained in preparations for the tournament. He is expected to undergo an MRI in the next day or so.
Hanelt has had incredibly bad luck when it comes to competing on the world’s stage. The fifth-round draft pick of the Washington Capitals in 2021, Hanelt was scheduled to participate in the World Junior Championship (WJC) in Alberta, Canada in 2021. Instead, the 18 year-old was required to rehab a shoulder that underwent surgery at the end of last November.
Hanelt should have participated in 2020 World Junior Championship as well, 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 also slated to participate in the World U-18 Championship in Texas in 2020, but was once again unable to participate. He would miss the tournament due to an injury he suffered that was similar in nature to the one that eventually landed him on the operating table last season.
After missing three consecutive international tournaments due to injuries and a Covid outbreak, Hanelt finally got his shot at the rescheduled 2022 World Junior Championship in August.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) August 14, 2022
All-in-all, Hanelt had a decent tournament. He recorded a goal and an assist in five games played, and was a -2.
Hanelt will now return to the Gatineau Olympics where he will hopefully resume his season in the QMJHL in short order.
Capitals’ defensive prospect Ryan Chesley (Team USA) will be the only Capitals prospect to participate in this year’s tournament.
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By Jon Sorensen