Saturday, 3 November 2018

A Pinguine Takes Flight

I have to admit that one of the advantages of having a blog is that, on occasion, I discover things or players long before anyone else jumps on the bandwagon. Thanks to following the career of Brandon Reid through Aalborg, Denmark and now in Krefeld, Germany, I have been exposed to a number of players with incredible talent that I likely would have never heard of had it not been for Brandon's journey to various locations in European leagues. One of these players I've had the privilege of discovering hit the highlight reels with his goal scored last night. To say this goal was a beauty would be a serious understatement. Ladies and gentlemen, the player pictured above is Greger Hanson of the Krefeld Pinguine, and he dazzled everyone last night with his talents.

Back on August 12, I wrote about Greger Hanson after he scored a goal against K├Âlner Haie in preseason DEL action. I wrote,
"Swedish-born Greger Hanson is an absolutely fascinating case of player moves. He spent four years at Northern Michigan University in the NCAA from 2007-11 before embarking on a professional hockey career that has seen him play for 15 teams in five leagues over the last seven seasons. In 2013-14, Hanson played in the Central Hockey League with both the Wichita Thunder and Allen Americans along with a four-game stint in the ECHL with the Greenville Road Warriors. In 2014-15, he suited up for both the Cincinnati Cyclones and the Americans in the ECHL after the ECHL absorbed the CHL teams before jumping to the AHL to play with the Oklahoma City Barons and the Worcester Sharks. 2015-16 saw him back in Allen before call-ups to the AHL's San Jose Barracuda and Utica Comets. 2016-17 had Hanson mostly in Allen, but he had cups of coffee with four AHL teams in the San Diego Gulls, the Chicago Wolves, the Binghamton Senators, and the Charlotte Checkers. Last season saw Hanson start in Utah with the Grizzlies before a brief stint with the San Diego Gulls before finally packing his bags, flying to Krefeld, and ending the season with the Pinguine. Have bags, will travel? It seems to be a nomadic life for Greger Hanson over the last few years."

He won a Kelly Cup in the ECHL with the Allen Americans, so it's not like he hasn't contributed on any of those stops. He works hard, he has speed to burn, and he is a useful, checking forward when given the opportunity. It just seems he hasn't found a permanent home where he can show off his hockey talents. That is, until this season.

Friday night, with Krefeld and Dusseldorf tied at 2-2 in overtime, Greger Hanson went off and scored an incredible goal that one rarely sees from a journeyman player. Watch and be marveled by the Swede.
Wowzers! That was making something out of what looked like nothing in a big way as Hanson nets the overtime winner off the spin move in tight on the defender! Bernhard Ebner, the Dusseldorf defender, is actually one of their strongest players, so for a guy like Hanson who came into this game with a total of zero goals in 13 contests and pull off that move and finish with the overtime winner is pretty special.

Make no mistake in that no one is suggesting that Greger Hanson suddenly flipped a switch and will go on a crazy scoring streak until the end of the season. That's simply not going to happen. But one can take a little comfort in knowing that a kid who works hard at both ends of the ice was rewarded by The Hockey Gods for working as hard as he has this season. Atta boy, Greger!

As it stands, Krefeld sits with a 5-5-5-2 (W-L-OTW-OTL) record which has them in sixth-place right now. For a team that finished 11-25-6-10 last season, it seems that Brandon Reid has the Pinguine clipping along at a much better pace than where they were one season ago. Efforts like Hanson's on last night's goal are a large reason why the Pinguine are doing better, and the hard work that Hanson puts in at both ends of the ice is a trademark of a Brandon Reid-coached team.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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