By RYAN MCCRACKEN on December 22, 2020.
Dylan Schuett is Division 1 bound.
The 20-year-old Medicine Hat product recently committed to Long Island University after a few strong seasons in the North American Hockey League.
When Schuett initially made the decision to pursue his game south of the border back in 2017, he says joining a Division 1 school was a top priority.
Well, check that one off the list.
“It’s definitely the biggest accomplishment in my hockey career,” Schuett said in a phone call with the News. “It’s a goal I’ve been chasing for a number of years now and I’m just super proud and happy to finally accomplish it and get to the NCAA Division 1 level next year.”
Schuett spent his early days playing hockey in Medicine Hat, but opted to focus on a future in the game when he moved up the road to Calgary to compete with Edge School at the age of 13.
“That was kind of my first taste away from home,” said Schuett, now captain of the NAHL’s Northeast Generals. “It was intimidating and something I had to get used to, but I think my parents did a good job raising me, and being a mature kid helped me out. Being at Edge prepared me to come down to the States when I was 16. It wasn’t that bad, and I felt prepared and ready to take on the challenge.”
Schuett started his American career with the Eastern Hockey League’s East Coast Wizards in 2017-18. After racking up 64 points in 48 games and earning rookie of the year status, the 6-foot-1, 218-pound forward shifted his focus to the NAHL.
“It was actually a last-minute decision to play with the Wizards. I was actually supposed to play in the NAHL that season and things kind of fell through at the last minute,” he said. “I had some of the 97-born 20-year-olds on the team take me under their wing. One specifically was Devin Panzeca, he was my linemate and we kind of just clicked and went on a roll.”
Schuett went on to put in 14 games with the Brookings Blizzard to start 2018-19 before joining up with the Generals through a trade, then adding the C to his chest the following year.
“I was wearing the A to start the season and our captain got traded early on and I was asked to take over. That was definitely a huge honour and I hope to continue that at the college level some day too,” said Schuett, who now shares an apartment with a few Generals teammates, where he’ll be spending Christmas due to COVID-19.
“With COVID and everything it wasn’t the best idea to come home, so I’m here and training and I’ll be here for Christmas, too.”
Schuett’s Generals (6-11-1), have still been able to play a mostly regular season through the pandemic, while leagues across Canada are at a standstill. The Attleboro, Mass.-based squad has been on the road for the entire campaign due to state health guidelines, and they’re mostly playing to empty buildings – but it’s still hockey.
“I obviously could have played in the AJHL or BC for the entirety of my junior career, but I’m lucky to be down in the North American League where we’re playing hockey,” said Schuett, who sits third in team scoring with five goals and nine assists in 17 games this season. “I’m super fortunate to be able to even go to the rink.”
When he inevitably reports to LIU for his first year, Schuett says he’ll be taking biology with the goal of going to medical school if a professional hockey career doesn’t end up in the cards. It’s a promising future either way, and one he says was shaped by the support of his family.
“I couldn’t have done this without the help of my parents and my grandpa, Grandpa Schuett,” said Schuett. “He’s probably my biggest supporter. I couldn’t have done it without them and without my past teammates and coaches. I can’t thank my parents enough for their support in helping me along the way.”