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WHL Alumni Spotlight – Jeff Schultz

Jeff Schultz spent four seasons patrolling the blue line for the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen.
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rNow, the 21-year-old from Calgary, AB, is plying his defensive trade at the National Hockey League level with the Washington Capitals.
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rDrafted by the Capital in the first round (27th overall) at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Schultz wrapped up a very strong Major Junior career with a selection to the WHL Eastern Conference’s Second All-Star team in 2005-06.
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rThe 6′ 6”, 221-lb defenseman began his professional career with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, netting two goals and 12 points in 44 games in 2006-07, and also kicked off his NHL career in Washington, suiting up for 33 games and recording two assists for the Capitals last year.
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rThis year, Schultz has earned a full-time job with the Caps, and, along with fellow WHL grads Mike Green and Shaone Morrisonn, is one of the talented up-and-coming rearguards who will be the future of the team.
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rWhile he may be two years removed from his days with the Hitmen, Jeff knows the Schultz legacy is continuing on his former team as his younger brother, Ian, is now a burgeoning star with the Hitmen.
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rJeff Schultz’ Perspective
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rOn the start to his NHL career…
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r“It’s been great. Playing the last half of the season last year up here really helped me get a taste of what to expect with the lifestyle, the travel, and being away from home. On the ice, it’s everything you’d expect out there. You’re playing with the best players in the world. Each game you play, you get more and more comfortable.”
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rOn getting used to the NHL game…
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r“The first thing you notice is that you’re playing with men. They are that much stronger. The speed of the game is quicker, and guys are more skilled. Working hard in practice helps you get into the games, and the more ice time you get when you’re in the game, the more you’re picking up and learning.”
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rOn life on the east coast…
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r“It’s a bit of a change. They don’t get much snow out here, but they get a lot of rain. The population is a lot more dense, and the traffic is much worse than in Calgary. But, on the bright side, there are a lot of things to see out here, especially living in the D.C. area with all the history and the monuments.”
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rOn the WHL as a development League…
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r“People always ask me what the best route is, and I’ll always say the WHL. It’s so close in what you’ll expect when you get to the NHL level. The development that the team provides, and the level of coaching that I received definitely helped me to get to where I am today.”
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rOn keeping up with the Hitmen…
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r“I follow them. I see how things are going on the internet and the Website, and my parents let me know how things are going with the team and with Ian. I also have lots of friends who are still playing on the team. It’s good to see them doing well again this season. “
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rJesse Watts
rwhl.ca

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