Haakon Hanelt Returns To Practice, Likely To Participate In QMJHL Postseason


According to reports from LeDroit, Washington Capitals forward prospect Haakon Hanelt is nearing a return following a foot injury he suffered in December.

Hänelt participated in his first full practice with the Olympics on Wednesday morning as the Gatineau Olympiques prepared to welcome the Chicoutimi Saguenéens for two consecutive games on Thursday and Friday. Hanelt wore a non-contact jersey, but could return to a game before the start of the playoffs.

The 19-year-old German suffered a foot injury while preparing for the World Junior Championship just a few days before Christmas. As a result, Hanelt has not played in a QMJHL game in 2023. His last game was on December 11 when he scored a goal in a 7-3 win against the Islanders in Charlottetown.

“It feels good to go back on the ice with the guys. It’s been a good time,” Hanelt told Ledroit. “The long absence was difficult. We have an excellent team. I was looking forward to meeting my teammates.”

This foot injury limited Hänelt to 28 games this season. Last season, Hanelt was required to undergo shoulder surgery early in the campaign and as a result, played in only 16 regular season games. In two seasons, Hanelt has played in just 44 QMJHL games, collecting five goals and 27 points.

“I experienced roughly the same thing as last year. The wait was long, but I had to hang on as it happens to all the other injured players. I feel good now and that’s what matters. It helped to see the team very successful. It’s motivating to come back in this context.”

An exact return date has yet to be determined. “The doctor will make the decision. I hope it will be before the start of the playoffs,” said Hanelt. The Olympiques have just nine games and three weeks remaining in the regular season.

“It’s really pleasant to be part of such a powerful club. I was always motivated by the idea of returning to the game as soon as possible, but coming back while the club is on the start makes this return even more satisfying.”

Olympiques head coach Louis Robitaille will determine where Hanelt fits into the lineup. He will make the decision shortly.

“At this time of year, it’s more difficult to return to the game. The players are in their best shape of the season. When Hank goes into the alignment, we will see where he stands in relation to the others in order to find his rightful place. We had injuries all season. There have always been holes to fill. He has the advantage of being 19 years old. He has experience, but we must not forget that he has not played much in two years. It will also be necessary to pay attention to the chemistry of the trios. Hank will have to win his place. There will be a competition within our team. This will be his biggest challenge. He may expect to have the same role, but the team is doing well precisely because everyone accepts his role.”

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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2 Responses to Haakon Hanelt Returns To Practice, Likely To Participate In QMJHL Postseason

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

    Exactly like last season. Will (hopefully) get a game or two before postseason starts. Did ok, 2 goals in six postseason games.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This kid may be too fragile for hockey. Like LuJo

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