If there was one man responsible for the Danish Men’s National Team making its first appearance in the Winter Olympic Games in the program’s 75-year history, it would be Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers.
Easily the best Danish hockey player in the world, the 25-year-old winger who just so happens to skate on Manitoba’s National Hockey League team, helped his fellow countrymen to a feat far more incredible than the average Joe may give him credit for.
Picking up five goals and nine points in just three Olympic qualifier matchups, Ehlers led the tournament in scoring while helping the Danes beat out the host country Norway by way of a 2-0 score in Oslo during Group F action of the qualification round on Sunday.
Sebastian Dahm put up a 26-save shutout, while Ehlers and teammate Frederik Storm each found the twine in the tight 2-0 final. After Storm’s late second period tally, Ehlers put the game out of reach with just over three minutes left to play. Collecting a breakaway pass from Frans Nielsen, the speedy forward put the puck past goaltender Henrik Haukeland for some much-needed insurance.
Ehlers’ goal was his fifth of the three-game set, which gave him nine total points in helping his team go 3-0, punching their collective ticket to Beijing 2022. Entering Sunday’s game with identical 2-0-0 records, the winner of the Denmark/Norway matchup knew it would be handed a place in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Having already beat both Slovenia and Korea en route to the victory over rival Norway.
Should the National Hockey League finally give its players the go-ahead to participate in the upcoming Olympics, Ehlers will likely join teammates Connor Hellebuyck (USA), Kyle Connor (USA), Mark Scheifele (Canada) and Leon Gawanke (Germany) in Beijing during the month of February.
The 12 participating nations in the ice hockey tournament include the host China, as well as Canada, USA, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Latvia and Denmark.
Beijing 2022 Groupings: