Tom Kuhnhackl – Ahh, did you forget about Deutschland? Well try not to, because they’re taking the ice in Pyeongchang. And Tom Kuhnhackl played a vital role in getting them there.
He actually scored the game winner in a qualifying tournament to send Germany to the 2018 Olympics. It’s a shame the rule came down that he can’t compete, but it’s still great to see he had a hand in his country’s plight for a medal.
Known as a depth guy, Kuhnhackl would likely be employed as a member of Germany’s bottom six forwards, as well as the team’s penalty kill. That’s what you can assume at least. This team would be mainly made up of pros from Europe, with only a few NHLers on the roster. So imagining their lineup is a bit of a challenge.
Kuhnhackl actually comes from hockey royalty. His father, Erich, is a member of the IIHF Hall of Fame, and was named Germany’s Ice Hockey Player of the 20th century. Woah. Erich was also a member of the last team from Germany to earn a medal at the Olympics. They earned a bronze in 1976.
So that does it. All in all, if the NHL were sending athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics, we could have expected seven Pittsburgh Penguins to represent six different nations. While the Pens do have ties to the American Olympics roster, it won’t be the same as getting to see the boys play for the countries.
Hopefully the league can work something out with the powers of international hockey. The Olympics are decidedly more fun when they let these guys play.