Bethel Park icer to play junior hockey in Ontario
When Mario Lemieux made his comeback, Kurt Schmidt transitioned, too. A dek hockey player since age 6, Schmidt slapped on skates and discovered his destiny.
This autumn, he could be playing in the Greater Metro Hockey League. Recently, the Bethel Park senior signed a free-agent contract with the Orangeville Americans from Ontario. He reports to training camp in early August.
“I want to be the best hockey player that I can be,” said the 19-year-old son of Cindy and Bob Schmidt.
For four years, he has honed his skills as a forward on the Bethel Park varsity. In addition, Schmidt has played travel hockey with the SHAHA Panthers. This year, he gained exposure from participating in the American Showcase. With the roster spots filled on the Pittsburgh squad, Schmidt played for the New York club.
An expert on the face-off, Schmidt explained he wins the majority of those and he can block a lot of shots. He also noted his ability to kill penalties as well as take away time and space on the other players. Yet, he did recognize his lack of size as a deterrent.
“I’m not the biggest player,” he admitted of his 5-9, 165-pound frame. “But, I make up for it by working hard.”
Jim McVay agreed. The BP ice boss said that Schmidt’s work ethic is great. “Kurt has worked hard to get where he has gotten. He loves hockey more than anything else.”
While he hopes playing junior hockey will open doors for him – he’d love to play in college or in Europe, perhaps the NHL some day – Schmidt says the sport has already opened his eyes to the world.
“Hockey teaches you that if you want to be the best, you have to give it your all and leave it out there on the ice. You have to work hard at what you do and you have to respect people and be a good sport.
“But, the dream I carry with my each day is that of working hard and waking up doing what you love to do and living life to the fullest. And, if I can’t play hockey, then I hope to do something in hockey.”