Nate Schmidt Talks Leaving Minnesota, NHL Goals

Post-game interviews following losses are rarely pleasant. Exhausted players anxious to mourn their defeat away from the cameras and microphones are forced by people like to me to relive an unsuccessful 60 minutes. After watching the Hershey Bears fall 3-2 to the Syracuse Crunch on December 27th, I expected a short, sad interview with a defenseman recently assigned to Hershey from the Washington Capitals. Turns out, Nate Schmidt is an exception to this rule.

Nate Schmidt Hershey Bears vs Syracuse Crunch 27 Dec 2013 Annie Erling Gofus

Nate Schmidt Hershey Bears vs Syracuse Crunch 27 Dec 2013 (Annie Erling Gofus)

The 22-year-old Minnesota native has played 29 games with the Washington Capitals this season, tallying 2 goals and 4 assists. After a long stint with the Caps, the 6’0″, 194-pound blueliner has bounced back and forth between Washington and Chocolatetown since mid-December. Most recently, Schmidt was re-assigned to Hershey on January 25th. After three seasons with the University of Minnesota, Schmidt made his professional debut with the Hershey Bears at the end of the 2012-2013 season. The blueliner totalled 12 goals and 62 assists in 96 games as a Golden Gopher.

Although he’s known as a d-man with a penchant for shooting the puck, Schmidt’s most defining trait might be his ever-present smile. And with his trademark grin firmly in place, Schmidt kicked off what was, hands down, the most cheerful and least canned post-game interview I have ever conducted. Read on to see what Nate had to say about Minnesota, his first NHL goal, and teaming up with a former rival.

Nate Schmidt Hershey Bears vs Syracuse Crunch 27 Dec 2013 (Annie Erling Gofus)

Nate Schmidt Hershey Bears vs Syracuse Crunch 27 Dec 2013 (Annie Erling Gofus)

You played three years at the University of Minnesota, what made you decide to leave early?

I was an undrafted free agent, so it was kind of like being recruited for college all over again. I talked to a lot of different teams. I was thinking about (leaving) after my sophomore year, but education was huge and I know my mom would not have been very happy with me. So, I almost finished (school), I think I had about two classes after the semester left. I almost did all four years in three, but we did summer school, we were down there all year. It was kind of time. I think there were three or four of us that all left at the same time. It was kind of like a big group decision.

You were all Juniors?

Yea, I think it was myself, Nick Bjugstad, he’s playing in Florida right now; Erik Haula, he’s playing for the Wild; and Zach Budish, he’s playing in Milwaukee.

Are you happy you made that decision to leave early?

I had an unbelievable time there. I loved it, every second of college I loved. We had a great team, the school is awesome, the college lifestyle obviously (laughs). The guys who play Major Junior in Canada don’t get to experience it. It’s one of those things: I made the decision, I moved on with it, I’m really happy with where I am right now.

What was your time like in Washington?

It was good. It started off kind of slow. It was being a little a nervous at first. Just trying to get out those first game jitters, but the guys are great up there. They really brought me into the team, and (showed me) how the NHL works, and how the game is different from any other level I’ve played at. It was a great experience, and something that I can try to apply here.

(Schmidt scored his first NHL goal on December 7, 2013 against Marek Mazanec of the Nashville Predators.)

What was your first NHL goal like?

Aw, boy. It was, awww… I didn’t do a whole lot (laughs).

You’re not supposed to say that! Take credit for it!

I’ve gotta give the credit where it’s due. Marty Erat made a great play off the face-off, throws a waist-high pass to me and he sucks the guy in and I’m wide open, so all I had to do was shoot it in. And Joel Ward makes a great screen in front of the net–the goalie never really saw it. But the best part was when John Carlson almost put me in the stands after I scored. And then everyone came over with the congratulatory hug and almost threw me into the third world. It was good though.

It must have been pretty surreal in your first year of professional hockey to be able to experience that.

I would never have guessed that this year would have gone the way it has. It’s been a lot of fun.

How are you planning to continue turning heads up here in Hershey?

I’ve just got to get back to my game. The game’s a little different, and you’ve got to adapt your style to the way the game’s played…. I’m trying to hone in more on my skills I haven’t worked on in the last couple months. I’m trying to be as complete as a player as possible.

Tonight, you were on the ice pretty often with Chay Genoway, who is a University of North Dakota alum. Is there any kind of rivalry between the two of you?

He brought it up before the game! He brought up this bad chemistry right before the game started (laughs). He said, “I can’t believe this, I’m playing with…” I don’t know if it was “a bleepin’ Gopher” or what he said, I’m not really positive, but it was along those lines (laughs). He said it with a smile, I knew he was joking. But you know, it hurt a little bit.

He’s got lots of attitude.

He does, I’m telling you!

I’m glad you were able to put your rivalry aside for tonight.

He’s a great guy and I like him. (UND hockey players) are not as all bad as we think they are.

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Warroad Drops the Gloves for Hockeytown, USA Title

Warroadians like to say that their small Minnesota town is known for three things: Walleye, windows and hockey. Walleye because of its prime location on Lake of the Woods, windows because Marvin Windows and Doors is headquartered there and hockey because of sheer numbers.

With a population of 1,781 in 2010, Warroad, Minnesota has produced a surprising number of professional and Olympic hockey players. With nine hometown kids skating in the big leagues over the years, Warroad is slowly reclaiming the title “Hockeytown, USA” from Detroit. While the Motor City earned this nickname years ago due to its habit of winning Stanley Cup championships, Warroad’s right to the moniker has been earned through its community’s rich hockey tradition.

Christian Brothers Hockey Sticks Warroad MN

Roger, left, and Bill (Billy) Christian outside their Christian Bros. hockey stick factory in Warroad, Minn., August 1988. Star Tribune staff photo.

Sure, the Detroit Red Wings’ 11 Stanley Cup wins may carry more weight than Warroad’s six high school state championship titles in the past 20 years, and a four-time National Champ—now defunct—amateur American Senior ice hockey team. But considering this tiny Minnesota town’s population is 350 times smaller than Detroit, it’s jaw-dropping that Warroad has produced more homegrown Olympians than you can shake a hockey stick at.

Warroad’s hockey pride can be linked back to its first Olympic athlete, Gordon Christian, who won a silver medal playing for the U.S. at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Italy. This was just the start of the Christian family’s strong hockey-influence on Warroad. In 1960, brothers Bill and Roger Christian won Olympic gold medals playing hockey for the U.S., and 20 years later, Dave Christian was a member of the “Miracle on Ice” 1980 U.S. men’s hockey team that brought home gold.

With gold medals earning them rock star status back home in Minnesota, Bill and Roger Christian, along with Hal Bakke, founded the Christian Brothers Hockey Company based in Warroad. The sons of a carpenter, the Christians began producing hockey sticks in 1964 using the slogan “Hockey Sticks Made by Hockey Players.” The company’s big break came in 1980 after Bill’s son Dave won Olympic gold as part of the “Miracle on Ice” team.

Thanks to free publicity from members of the U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey team, sales increased approximately 40%, but by the mid-’80s, the Christian Brothers began to feel the squeeze of competition from Easton—a baseball bat manufacturer that expanded into hockey sticks. With some big-name endorsements and a profit margin of more than 30%, Easton slowly pulled ahead of the Christian Brothers, eventually leaving them in the dust. As hockey players shifted away from wooden sticks, the Christian Brothers could no longer compete and finally shuttered their factory in 2003.

After its factory, name and trademarks changed hands several times, the Christian Brothers’ tradition of made-in-America hockey sticks found new life in 2012 with BOA Athletics. After purchasing the Christian Brothers’ manufacturing equipment, Boa has continued producing high-quality hockey sticks, including the classic wooden sticks made famous by the Warroad Olympians. Operating alongside BOA, are Eleven Hockey and Olympus Athletics—founded by Warroad native Jay Fisher and James Marvin, Eleven Hockey began as a hockey R & D lab and private labeling company before morphing into Olympus, an online sporting goods retailer.

Hockey tradition in Warroad may have started with the Christian Brothers’ American-made hockey sticks, but it doesn’t end there. Since 1980, Warroad has produced four NHL players and two more Olympic silver medal-winning hockey players. Henry Boucha is a former NHL player and 1972 Winter Olympic Silver Medalist; Alan Hangsleben is a former NHL player; T.J. Oshie is a current NHL player for the St. Louis Blues; Gisele Marvin is a current member of the United States national women’s ice hockey team and 2010 Olympic silver medalist; Brock Nelson is a current NHL player with the New York Islanders.

During 2014’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Warroad has the opportunity to be the only town in America to be represented on both the men’s and women’s Olympic hockey teams. Gisèle “Gigi” Marvin will be skating for the Red, White and Blue at the Olympics for the second time, while T.J. Oshie is in the running for his first Olympic appearance.

If anyone is keeping count—and many Warroadians most likely are—the fact that this small community of 1,781 has produced 9 NHL and Olympic-level hockey players over the past 50 years is amazing. Not to mention the dozens of Warroadians who have played outstanding hockey at other levels, and the local, made-in-America hockey companies Warroad has supported over the years. No, there isn’t something in the water. This is simply a small Minnesota town absolutely steeped in hockey tradition and culture.

Step aside, Detroit. Warroad, Minnesota is here to claim its title: Hockeytown, USA.

Annie Erling Gofus writes for http://www.summitolympus.com/. Follow Annie on Twitter (@AnnieErGo) or email her atannie.erling@gmail.com.

Image Courtesy of: http://www.startribune.com/local/133688683.html

Originally Published to http://ultimatehockeynetwork.com/uhn-%E2%94%82-warroad-drops-the-gloves-for-hockeytown-usa-title/

Ultimate Hockey Network

FRIDAY ROUND UP

August 23, 2013

Bright and sunny August weekends give us the perfect opportunity to flex our creative muscles. Create to-dye-for custom-colored fabrics that look gorgeous as window treatments or a pretty tablecloth to accent your indigo-swirled wedding cake. Rather not get your hands dirty this weekend? Let the professionals do all the work and shop for eye-popping art online at eyesonwalls.com. It’s the perfect place to find whimsical, bold conversation starters for your bare walls. No one wants to bring it up, but fall is upon us, which means cooler temps, leaves changing colors, and the dreaded dry skin of winter. Keep your lips silky smooth this season with e.l.f.’s ultra affordable lip exfoliator, then indulge in a pretty plum-colored lip tint by Fresh. Introduce your pretty pout to super-fresh, super-local Dungeness crab at Seattle’s Bar Sajor restaurant—recently named one of the top 50 restaurants in the US by Bon Appetit Magazine for a menu-full of delicious reasons. Once you’ve had your fill of the Northwest’s most tempting seafood, head out to the Bluegrass on the Green Festival. This celebration of bluegrass music plays on today until Sunday, so you have all weekend to stomp your boots to strumming bangos.

Friday-August-23-Round-Up

 

Originally Posted to http://winifredbean.com/blog/2013/8/23/friday-round-up by Annie Erling Gofus

 

1. Sugar Lip Treatment in Plum via Fresh;  Lip Exfoliator via e.l.f. Studio | 2. Indigo Dyed Fabric DIY via Green Wedding Shoes  | 3. Bluegrass on the Green Musical Festival; image via  CBS Minnesota | 4. Deer Wearing Gym Socks via Eyes on the Walls  | 5. Bar Sajor in Seattle via Bon Appetit

Friday Round Up for Winifredbean.com

FRIDAY ROUND UP

August 9, 2013

For many students, August marks a return to the classroom. Reading, writing, and if you’re lucky, some good ol’ fashioned arts and crafts. No need to hop on the school bus to get a healthy dose of DIY fun: Deck out your next big event with handmade Gold Leaf Table Numbers. Caught the do-it-yourself bug? Get creative and design your own stationary using this handy guide to pick your favorite gorgeous font. Discover the perfect way to fake a lovely summer glow (with this tutorial) then dash out the door to check out two excellent celebrations of local culture: This weekend Minneapolis is hosting both the Twin Cities’ Polish Festival and the Irish Fair of Minnesota. Snag a pierogi and dance a jig before chilling out with a sweet treat. Eater.com recently published a list of Minneapolis’s 9 Best Ice Cream Desserts—make it your delicious goal this weekend to taste test each and every one!

August-9-Round-Up

Originally posted on Winifredbean.com by Ann Erling Gofus

Photo compilation by Ann Erling Gofus

Photo credits: 1. How to Apply Highlighter via Bella Sugar; Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up! Highlighter via Sephora   | 2. Twin Cities’ Polish FestivalIrish Fair of Minnesota; image via The Paper Wall  | 3. Gold Leaf Table Numbers via Once Wed | 4. 50 Beautiful Fonts via Snippet and ink; image via Grey Likes Weddings | 5.  9 Best Ice Cream Desserts via Eater; image via Southern Weddings Magazine