Jake Schmaltz has always dreamed of playing college hockey. That dream always seemed to feature the University of North Dakota as a backdrop. The Edgewood High School standout will soon realize that dream as he has committed to playing hockey at North Dakota.
Schmaltz will join a long line of family members donning the North Dakota jersey. His father played football at the university. Then, Jake’s cousins, Nick and Jordan Schmaltz, played for North Dakota before embarking on careers in the NHL.
"They’ve always been like my inspiration," Jake says of his older cousins. "I’ve always looked up to them and wanted to go in the travel of what they’ve been going through. I always wanted to follow them."
They provided a solid path to follow. Nick Schmaltz plays for the Chicago Blackhawks. Jordan Schmaltz is with the St. Louis Blues. Both encouraged their cousin to consider playing at North Dakota.
"I mean, they’ve always like said, ‘We’ve always wanted you to go to North Dakota.’ I’ve always just wanted to go there," says Jake.
The younger Schmaltz insists he won’t feel any pressure to live up to the family name in college.
"I mean, I’m playing for my family, but I play for myself. I just know I’m trying to do as good as I can out there."
Jake is still mulling his options for next hockey season. He says there’s no definitive timetable for when he will begin his collegiate career.