University of North Dakota Freshman forward Nick Schmaltz has made the 2015 USA WJC team. With his selection to team USA, Schmaltz will be the 37th UND hockey player to participate in the World Junior Championship. Schmaltz is the 27th UND hockey player to represent team USA.
From 2009-2013, four UND hockey players have represented team USA during the World Junior Championship: Danny Kristo (2009, 2010), Derek Forbort (2011-2102), Brock Nelson (2011), Rocco Grimaldi (2013).
Schmaltz is also one-of-four Chicago Blackhawks draft choices that will play for team USA.
Schmaltz Making an impact at UND
In his freshman season, Schmaltz has made an immediate impact at UND. Despite missing four games due to an upper-body injury, Schmaltz has scored (3g-12a—15pts). Schmaltz is tied for third in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference for freshman scoring. In addition, Schmaltz is tied for third on the team in scoring with senior forward Mark MacMillan (8g-7a—15pts).
Schmaltz has also been a stalwart on the power play and has scored eight of his 15 points on the man advantage.
While Schmaltz’s is playing in the World Junior Championship, UND will be off. The freshman forward will miss the exhibition game against the USNTDP U-18 on January 3, 2015. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Schmaltz “should” be back in the UND lineup on January 9-10, 2015, when UND plays the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in an important two-game conference series.
This season, Nick has joined his older brother Jordan Schmaltz at UND. Needless to say, the Schmaltz brothers like playing together. The younger Schmaltz had to say after his UND debut.
“It was fun to get on the same ice as him,” Nick Schmaltz said. “I like getting out on the power-play with him so we can make plays. It’s really fun playing with him.”
World Junior Championship is a good measuring stick
For the players, playing in the World Junior Championship is a good measuring stick. The players get to play against the world’s best players in their age group. During a recent press conference, head coach Dave Hakstol was asked if players that play in the WJC come back as better players.
“They come back tired, beat up and eventually better players,” Hakstol said. “You can’t go through that experience without learning something and improving through different stresses, pressures and successes that you go through during that tournament.
For those that want to watch Schmaltz and team USA compete in the 2015 WJC, there’s some good news. All of team USA’s games will be on the NHL Network.
USA Preliminary Games
December 26, 2014 – USA vs. Finland Bell Centre 2:00 pm CT.
December 28, 2014 – USA vs. Germany Bell Centre 7:00 pm CT.
December 29, 2014 – USA vs. Slovakia Bell Centre 3:00 pm CT.
December 31, 2014 – Canada vs. USA Bell Centre 3:00 pm CT.
Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers the University of North Dakota Hockey and Division I college hockey. Eric is the Contributing Editor for Inside Hockey.