Joe Schuldt was a member of Minnetonka's varsity for four years before graduating after last season. Photo by Helen Nelson
Jimmy, at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, looked up to his older brother out of necessity -- Joe is 6-foot-2, 195 pounds -- and out of respect. The pair made it a habit to line up next to each last season during pre-game ceremonies.
“Joe played two years before I played varsity,” Jimmy said. “So I just kind of followed what he did. He was really a role model to me.
“Ever since sophomore year, the first time me and Joe played together, we lined up on the goal line together. It kind of became a tradition. Every game. Hopefully John will take Joe’s place.”
John, a sophomore who already stands 6-2, is next in the Schuldt assembly line. He was called up to play in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League this fall as an injury replacement, and he played both as a defenseman and a forward on Team Southwest with Jimmy.
John has cracked the Skippers’ varsity lineup this season, and he’s a defenseman expected to log a regular shift.
“He had a good tryout,” Urick said. “He’s a big strong kid who can skate.”
Jimmy Schuldt registered 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) last season in 28 games while Joe had a goal and five assists. Jimmy and senior Tommy Vannelli (six goals, 14 assists) give the fourth-ranked Skippers one of best tandems of defensemen in the state.
The arrival of John helps bolster a unit that lost four of its six regulars to graduation.
Although the Schuldt boys – Jake, the youngest, is playing at the Bantam A level this season – grew up playing football and baseball, “Hockey has just always been our favorite sport,” John said. “I’ve loved it ever since I started going to skating lessons.”
The Schuldts became a hockey family out of necessity. Sheri said she signed her boys up for every sport imaginable when they were growing up.
“We had four boys in five years,” she said. “We used to take about seven walks around the pond in our neighborhood every day. We had them in basketball, soccer, swimming -- everything.”
“Then we tried skating lessons. When they got done with their first skating lesson, they were so tired when we got home. I thought, ‘Wow, skating is the ticket.’ ”