Jimmy Schuldt said that he looked up to Andrew Prochno when he was growing up in Minnetonka. Prochno, who is about to begin his sophomore season with the St. Cloud State men’s hockey team, is a Minnetonka High School graduate. Schuldt is about to begin his senior season with the Skippers and made a verbal commitment to play for the Huskies this week.
“He’s been a role model for me,” Schuldt said. “I’m excited to play with him.”
Schuldt and Prochno barely missed out on playing on the same team in high school. Schuldt was a freshman when Prochno was a senior. Instead, Schuldt played last season on the same team with Prochno’s brother, Michael. Michael, a defenseman who graduated last spring, is playing juniors for Aberdeen in the North American Hockey League.
Andrew Prochno, who was named to the All-WCHA Rookie Team last season, was a four-year letterwinner for Minnetonka. Schuldt is about to begin his third season on Minnetonka’s varsity.
The two are different types of players, though, according to Brian Urick, who has coached Minnetonka for five seasons.
“In terms of their drive to be a good hockey player, they have a lot of the same attributes,” Urick said. “The most important thing to them is hockey. They’ve never skipped a workout or not done what is asked. It’s the most important thing in their life.
“In terms of personality, they are at different ends. Andrew is very laid back and even-keeled at all times. They’re both competitors. Jimmy is more of an emotional player. He might snap here or there with his intensity. He’s got a lot of fire. That’s good and bad because you’ve got to control that.”
Urick, though, said that he envisions Schuldt’s personality being one that turns into a leadership role when he’s with the Huskies.
“He’s definitely a potential leader for St. Cloud,” Urick said. “The way he comes across, there’s a lot of leadership traits. I could see him being very important part of the St. Cloud team and a captain.”
Omaha has the United States Hockey League rights to Schuldt and he plans on playing one season with the Lancers before joining the Huskies for what would be Prochno’s senior season.
“As a high school senior, Jimmy is pretty mature and goal oriented,” Urick said. “He’s pretty serious about hockey and doing everything he can to be the best player he can be. He’s not muck of a jokester. He’s really focused and mature for his age.”
COULD ANOTHER SKIPPER BE HEADED TO SCSU?
Minnetonka senior defenseman Tommy Vannelli, who played on the Under-18 national team this summer with Cathedral junior forward Austin Poganski, is receiving a lot of recruiting interest. Vannelli, who is 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, has been recruited by St.
Cloud State since before the mad rush began this summer.
“Tommy is one of my best friends,” Schuldt said. “It would be really cool to play with him in college. I don’t think he’s really close (to a decision).”
Urick said he spoke with Vannelli’s family recently and also said that he is not close to making a final decision.
“They’re looking around the midwest for schools with Wisconsin, Minnesota, St. Cloud, Mankato … all the usual suspects,” Urick said. “I don’t think he’s close on any decisions and I talked to the family just a couple days ago.”
Urick made that remark on Thursday afternoon. Vanelli had 25 points in 28 games for Minnetonka last season.
PROCHNO’S GOOD FRESHMAN CAMPAIN NOT A SHOCK
Once you get started talking hockey with the right people, it can be easy to go in a lot of different directions. The St. Cloud State coaching staff knew that Prochno was going to be a good player when they recruited him, but even they were a bit surprised by Prochno’s freshman season. He was fourth on the team in scoring (29 points in 38 games) and was third on the team in plus/minus (plus-11).
So I ended up asking Urick if he was surprised at Prochno’s freshman season.
“The thing with Andrew is he’s a great skater and can shoot the puck, so I knew he’d be effective offensively,” Urick said. “The question mark was how was he going to play defensively.
That year in the USHL really helped him. He’s a smart kid and he gets the game. Playing in the USHL really helped him improve his time without the puck … Andrew kind of flew under the radar because he’s not the NHL-sized, a 6-foot-3 defensemen (he’s listed at 5-11). But he can skate like the wind and has a great mentality. I’m not going to say I told you so, but I knew he’d be a good college player.”
JARVELAINEN PLAYING PROFESSIONALLY IN FINLAND
Forward Ville Jarvelainen will not be playing for the Huskies next season. Jarvelainen is
playing pro hockey this season in Finland after playing last season for Green Bay in the USHL. Jarvelainen (5-5, 150) had 9 goals and 13 assists in 54 regular season games and 2 goals in 9 playoff games last season for the Gamblers.
TRUE WALK-ON IS ON THE ROSTER
Huskies head coach Bob Motzko was considering whether or not to bring in another signed forward for this season. The team was at 14 forward or one shy of the five lines of forwards that college teams typically carry. But they ended up going with a non-recruited walk-on in T.J. Belisle (5-11, 180), a 20-year-old from Andover who played high school hockey with freshman Joey Benik at St. Francis High School.
Belisle began last season with the Springfield Jr. Blues in the North American Hockey League. He played in three games and did not have a point. He finished the season with the Minnesota Owls of the Tier III Minnesota Owls in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League. He had 14 goals and 12 assists in 17 games for the Owls.
A 2011 high school graduate, he was a three-time all-conference pick with St. Francis and had 81 goals and 96 assists in his high school career.
He could be a very good story if he makes it into a game for the Huskies this season.
HENDRICKSON HAS MOVED TO NAHL
Garrett Hendrickson, a 20-year-old St. Cloud State signee from Virginia, began the season with Salmon Arm of the British Columbia Hockey League, but has moved to the Coulee Region Chill (Onalaska, Wis.) of the North American Hockey League. Hendrickson, a
forward, began last season with Penticton of the BCHL and then was traded to Salmon Arm early on. He finished last season with Salmon Arm and in 58 games, he had 10 goals and 12 assists. Hendrickson could play his first game with the Chill on Saturday at Austin.