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Flames prospect Hanowski learns value of conditioning at NHL level

Minnesota Wild v Calgary Flames

CALGARY, CANADA - APRIL 15: Ben Hanowski #58 of the Calgary Flames skates during warm-ups before an NHL game against the Minnesota Wild at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 15, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Ben Hanowski is playing in his first NHL game. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Derek Leung

Ben Hanowski’s career in the National Hockey League has been eventful, despite being limited.

He was part of the blockbuster Jarome Iginla trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins toward the end of March, coming to Calgary after the Flames shipped their star captain to what looked at the time like the Eastern Conference powerhouse.

So, he’ll forever be recognized in Calgary for that. His time in the NHL consists of five games. He scored in his debut, and was held without a point after that.

But the pace of the game at its top level proved to be the biggest challenge for Hanowski, who played three years of college hockey at St. Cloud State.

It was at Flames prospects camp where Hanowski discussed the difference in conditioning from the college level compared to the NHL.

“The first practice I was in, I was sucking wind, and those guys were acting like it was nothing,” Hanowski told the Calgary Sun.

“Within the first couple of hours skating, I knew I had some work to do. It’s a pretty big difference from here to college.”

“You would think (I was in top condition possible), but it’s a different animal. Those guys have been putting in years getting in shape, so you really have to push it. For a guy like me — not the fastest guy — I have to make sure I do things the right way.”