Not very often will you find Canadian players in the NAHL, but Brent Schuldhaus is looking to become the next. The Calgary-born defenseman signed a tender agreement with the Bruins earlier this month, becoming the third Austin tender signing (Kyle Looft and Seth Eisele) of 2016-17.
Schuldhaus is just just two days removed from a 2000 birthyear, sharing a birthday with Bruins defenseman Jaden Shields – Decmeber 30th, 1999. He’s played in the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary’s Program since 2014 – a decision to leave his Canadian homeland for the United States.
“I was looking at different sports schools for hockey,” he said. “I looked at a couple in British Columbia and then Shattuck. Shattuck was the one I liked most so I just made the decision to come down here. We rented a house across the street and my brother was actually here for the first two years I was here so that was great.”
Brent is now a dual-citizen, but his Canadian roots are responsible for his start in hockey. Brent’s grandfather, George Kirkwood was a goalie for Denver University from 1959-61 and Schuldhaus credits him for sparking his interest in the game.
“He kinda was the first one who took me to hockey games and taught me how to skate,” he said. “I started skating when I was about two or three years old and started getting minor hockey when I was four or five. I grew up playing hockey the Canadian way I guess.”
The Bruins kept a close eye on Schuldhaus, attending his practice and games, especially at showcase events in Blaine, MN and Colorado.
“Coach [Keenan] Kelly he said he really liked how I was playing and I made it look simple,” Schuldhaus said. “He watched my practices and talked to my coach about me and that all just led up to the tender and he offered me the tender and I was really excited about it.”
Brent emphasized how much he enjoyed the atmosphere of Riverside Arena when he visited Austin and attended a Bruins game.
“I really liked the atmosphere of the rink and I watched a game and I met a few of the players and it was just a really great atmosphere and the guys were really good. So, I just took the tender – it was really exciting.”
Schuldhaus is 6’2, 185 pounds and unlike many of the young Bruins blueliners, his game is less offensive-minded and more defensively sound.
“I like to say I’m responsible in the D zone,” he said. “I keep things under control. I like to think that I can get the puck out quick, make a good first pass – and there’s always room for improvement in that area but that’s one of my strengths. Right now, I’m really building upon my offensive side of the game.”
Schuldhaus has two assists through 13 games with Shattuck’s U18 squad, which plays in the NAPHL. He has eyes on becoming a part of the Bruins’ D-core next season with eventual goals of playing NCAA hockey.
“I’d like to make the team next year and if I can have a great season, try to put up numbers,” He said. “In the long term, hopefully move onto the USHL and eventually on to Division One college hockey.”