Grandpa Schmaltz jokingly takes credit.
He says the family talent pool skips a generation making him the root of the hockey talents of his grandson’s Jordan and Nick Schmaltz. The Schmaltz brothers are key pieces of number one ranked North Dakota, Jordan a junior defenseman and Nick a freshman forward.
Prior to Jordan and Nick the Schmaltz name was synonymous with football. Mike, Marc and Monte were all standouts at Bismarck St. Mary’s High School and went on to play at the University of North Dakota. Mike, Jordan and Nick’s father was 1st team All North Central Conference Wide Receiver in 1990, Marc wore green from 1988-1991 while Monte was at the U in 1992-1993. The family ties to the University part of the reason Jordan and Nick ended up taking their hockey skills to Grand Forks.
Mike becomes emotional when asked about the chance to watch his two sons together on the ice playing for the same team. When Nick joined UND this season the hockey bonds between he and older brother Jordan added a new chapter. Each loved the sport at an early age, each played for Green Bay of the USHL and each had a dream of playing Division One college hockey. Mission accomplished.
And arguably the most unique aspect of the brothers’ story? Each are first round National Hockey League draft picks. Jordan was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the first round in 2012 and last summer Nick was chosen by his favorite team, the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. Grandpa’s smile can be seen from Bismarck where he keeps a close tab on his grandsons all the way around the circles of college hockey.
The family is making the most of this season and perhaps the last time they will see Jordan and Nick play as teammates. Mike and other family members make the long trek from Verona, Wisconsin to Grand Forks for each and every home game. They also see a number of road games. They are taking advantage of special times as Jordan and Nick help UND chase a national championship.
It’s a good chance Jordan will pass up his senior season at UND and turn pro. Nick also has professional aspirations that he too will chase someday. For now though imagine Grandpa Dan watching the games in Bismarck proudly proclaiming, “those are my grandsons.”