GERMANY: Olafr Schmidt is getting the best of both worlds—playing the sport he loves, while experiencing the beauty of many European countries.
Schmidt, a product from Lakeview, is suiting up with German Tier 2 team Lausitzer Füchse (DEL2) where he has compiled a 2.82 Goals Against Average in 15 games played, including a shutout. He also has a 90.3 save percentage.
He can play in the Germany pro leagues with being classified as an import player because of his German ancestry on his fathers family side. He trains with Finn Goalie development instructor Jack Hartigan, who was the first to suggest he pursue a career overseas.
“Having a German passport gave me an opportunity to play as a non import in leagues that only allow a limited number of imported players,” said Schmidt after a game on Nov. 17. “My first year playing hockey in Germany was when I was 18.”
Hartigan and Schmidt agreed the best thing for him would be to get his foot into the door early in Germany. So he bought an airplane ticket and off he went.
“I packed my bags and bought a one way ticket to go play a season for Rosenheim in the German Junior league,” said Schmidt. “It was an eye opening season for me.”
The Nashville Predator fan returned to Canada the following year to finish his eligible junior years with one goal in mind—returning to play professionally in Germany.
“After my final year of junior in Canada, with the help of Jack and others, I received a contract offer from Preussen Berlin in the Oberliga and made the jump,” he said.
Before going across the Atlantic Ocean, Schmidt saw goaltending time with Lockview High for one year, while he donned the junior hockey jerseys in Chester; Windsor; Rosenheim, Germany; St. Stephen Aces; and Kamloops, B.C.
After playing in Kamloops, Schmidt made the move to Preussen Berlin in the German Oberliga, where he played two seasons.
Schmidt never imagined when he was younger that hockey would take him to Germany.
“I always knew I would try to pursue hockey for as long as I could, and its led me here,” he said.
Playing in Germany, and with his family and best friend Brenna Boyd, back in Fall River and area, Schmidt does say he misses them. Sara Moignot is his mom.
“Though I miss Nova Scotia at times, I really enjoy myself on and off the ice here,” Schmidt said. “Germany is home to a lot of beautiful cities with unique cultures, an enthusiastic hockey fan base with a fantastic arena atmospheres.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity I have to build a career here doing what I love.”