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US speed skater on mission to meet all 10 Blackhawks Olympians

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

Brian Hansen is taking his down time at the Olympics to seek out and meet Chicago Blackhawks players. (USATSI)
Brian Hansen is taking his down time at the Olympics to seek out and meet Chicago Blackhawks players. (USATSI)

Brian Hansen is a speed skater from Glenview, Ill., who happens to be a rather large fan of the Chicago Blackhawks. Since he's at the Olympics representing Team USA in long track events and 10 members of the Blackhawks are also in Sochi for the hockey tournament, he's made it his goal to meet and take a picture with all of them.

Even though Hansen is busy preparing for some of the most important events of his career, he seems to be pretty serious about finding the Blackhawks' Olympians.

As of today, the 2010 silver medalist in men's team pursuit has found and met seven of the members of the defending Stanley Cup champion in Sochi and has shared the results on Twitter.

Let's take a look at Hansen's progress in chronological order…

The first he met was Slovakia's Marian Hossa, and if you look at the photo credit, it explains why the photo seems like it's being taken from above. Zdeno Chara was the gracious cameraman.

Two days later on his hunt, Hansen came across Sweden's Marcus Kruger, who was on the ice for the Stanley Cup-winning goal in 2013.

That same day, Hansen found Swedish defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya.

Three days later, he found another of Slovakia's Olympians, stopping Michal Handzus for a quick snapshot. That put Hansen halfway to his goal.

The 23-year-old speed skater scored an important double on Sunday, finding Michal Rozsival of the Czech Republic.

This one won't count for his total, but Hansen also ran into former Blackhawks forward and current Winnipeg Jet, Michael Frolik. Hansen was just glad to meet one of the guys that helped his favorite team win the Stanley Cup last year.

On Monday, he happened upon Patrick Sharp, meaning he only has three Blackhawks left to find to complete his goal.

Oddly enough, Hansen has yet to find fellow American Patrick Kane in his quest to meet the 10 Blackhawks in Sochi. He's also missing Canadians Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith.

It just goes to show that even when Olympians are busy getting ready for some of the most important moments in their lives, they're still as big of fans as anyone else and prone to geeking out. It's also a great reminder that while athletes represent different countries, there's a respect and admiration that is shared among them regardless of nationality.

Hansen has already skated in three events without a medal, but will be part of the team pursuit once again where he will attempt to improve on that silver-medal finish from Vancouver.

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