By Mason Lyttle
JANESVILLE, WI – The Janesville Jets, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that goaltender Derek Schaedig has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Harvard Crimson of ECAC Hockey.
Schaedig (6-4/181) is an 18-year-old rookie from Chelsea, Michigan, a small town about 20 minutes outside of Ann Arbor. This season, he has recorded a 13-7-0-3 record on a .902 save percentage for Janesville, and, for a couple weeks in December, stunned the junior hockey landscape in a four-game stint with the USHL’s Lincoln Stars. Called up as an emergency backup, Schaedig ripped off four straight wins for Lincoln, posting a .942 save percentage and earning CCM Goalie of the Week awards in the process.
“That stretch for Lincoln was perfectly representative of what Schaedig can do,” said Jets head coach and general manager Joe Dibble. “He has an incredibly high ceiling, and I think pro and college scouts saw that then. Harvard knows what they’re getting with Derek, and that’s a remarkably professional young man who dedicates himself to his craft.”
Schaedig said he isn’t sure what he’ll study at the 381-year-old Ivy League school, but has narrowed it down to economics, statistics, or physical therapy, he said.
“I do want to play pro hockey one day, but, academically, Harvard gives me a good backup plan,” joked Schaedig of the institution that boasts 130 Nobel laureates and eight U.S. presidents. “Coming into junior, I knew I wanted the best hockey and academic combo I could get. Harvard has always been what it is for academics, but on the hockey side, they’ve been having really good success in recent years. I fell in love with the campus and the coaches and it all seemed like the perfect fit.”
Head coach Ted Donato’s Crimson play at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center and boast twelve Frozen Four appearances in school history. The No. 2 team in the country can automatically advance to the national championship tournament with an ECAC conference win in Lake Placid.
“Harvard’s having a phenomenal year, and has a great track record of developing pro players,” said Dibble. “They do an excellent job developing their players on the ice, in the gym, in the classroom, and in the community.”
Athletic or academic, a scholarship from Harvard requires an exceptional work ethic, which is exactly what Dibble saw in Schaedig when he brought him to Janesville.
“Derek Schaedig does not cut corners,” said Dibble. “One thing I told every pro and college scout about him was they would be hard pressed to find a kid with better self-discipline and preparation habits than Schaedig. He’s early to practice, he’s constantly on the ice working on things, and he wants to be the best. He has a drive to one day play pro hockey, and from what he’s shown, both in game and in his preparation, you’d be smart to bet he will.”
Schaedig, who won the Ann Arbor News Hockey Player of the Year award following his senior season as a Chelsea Bulldog, is the latest in a streak of Jets goalies to earn Division I commitments. Dating back to Dibble’s arrival at the start of the 2012-13 season, six Jets goalies have secured D-I deals, and nine months ago, Jack LaFontaine heard his name called by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 3rd round of the NHL Draft.
“What this program has done for goalies was a big reason I came here,” said Schaedig. “Coach Larry [Clemens] has helped me so much, getting adjusted from high school to playing junior hockey. He’s always looking for improvements in my game, always helping me and “Barzy” [Jake Barczewski] so much on the ice, but also on the mental side. When we’re having struggles, he keeps us balanced and relaxed, and reminds us it’s just a game. Coach Dibble and [assistant] Coach [Kyle] Forte always keep me in check and let me know if I’m not working hard enough. They’ve stuck with me all year, and I can’t say enough how lucky I am to have these coaches.”
Schaedig becomes the tenth player of the 2016-17 Janesville Jets to commit to a Division I program, joining Blake Wareham (Canisius), Adrian Holesinsky (Maine), Jakov Novak (Bentley), Chris Dodero (American International), Cole Paskus (UMass Lowell), Colin Felix (UMass Amherst), Jack Gates (Colorado College), Michael Maloney (Brown University), and Joey Abate (Wisconsin).
Contact the Janesville Jets’ front office at (608) 752-JETS, or go to www.janesvillejets.com for the regular season schedule, ticket information, and sponsorship opportunities. Stay connected to the Jets through Facebook (/janesvillehockey) and Twitter (@JanesvilleJets1).