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By Chris Bayee, 01/21/20, 10:00AM PST


One of Henri Schreifels’ favorite hobbies as a youth was shooting pucks off a rubber pad at a net in his backyard. He’d pound hundreds of pucks a day, never growing weary of the exercise.

“It was one of the best things I could do, and I was having fun at the same time,” the former Anaheim Jr. Ducks forward said. “That really paid off. It strengthened my shot and helped me learn how to release it off at different angles.”

One of the payoffs was being able to play junior hockey, which Schreifels is doing quite well for Victoria of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). Another is a college commitment, which he made over the weekend to Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, located in upstate New York.

Schreifels is the 22nd player with ties to the Jr. Ducks to make an NCAA Division I commitment in the past six seasons.

“It’s a great school with great academics,” the 2000 birth year said. “Hockey is their only Division sport, so it’s a really big part of the campus. With their staff and facilities, they have everything they need to continue to improve.”

Schreifels played two seasons for the Jr. Ducks, and led the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League’s 18U division in points (56) and goals (26) as a first-year Midget Major player.

“He has size (6-foot-1, 195 pounds), speed, skill and a heavy shot,” said Jr. Ducks 18U AAA coach August Aiken. “He does all the little things well and works so hard.

“I’m not surprised by his commitment, he deserves it.”

Schreifels played his first season for Jr. Ducks Director of Coaches Craig Johnson and Director of Player Personnel Alex Kim at 16U AAA. Kim cited Schreifels’ work ethic and patience as two main reasons for him receiving his college opportunity.

“Henri is very committed; he always wanted to improve,” Kim said. “We saw that every day. He was all about hockey every day.

“He’s also got an unbelievable shot.”

After playing for three BCHL teams last season, finishing in Victoria, Schreifels has blossomed in his second season of Junior A hockey. Through 44 games he has 33 points, including 16 goals. His goal total exceeds his point total from a season ago in the same number of games.

He was quick to credit his Jr. Ducks coaches for helping him develop.

“August helped me with my vision and speed of play,” Schreifels said. “Those were the biggest things. He knew what kind of player I needed to be to get to the next level, which was juniors and now is college.

“I was in a really good spot with the Jr. Ducks. Our teams went to Nationals, and I learned a lot there.”

That growth, combined with Schreifels’ skill set and work ethic, is giving him another shot to advance in the game.

Photo courtesy of Victoria Grizzlies.