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Fresh off sophomore season, Jefferson High grad Brooklyn Schneiderhan continues college hockey ascent

Brooklyn Schneiderhan
Posted at 6:48 PM, Apr 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 20:49:23-04

BILLINGS — Playing against the boys was never a concern for Brooklyn Schneiderhan. She craved as much ice time as she could get.

Schneiderhan, a Jefferson High School graduate from the Montana City area, has hockey in her blood. But opportunities to play on all-girls teams in Montana are few and far between.

Brooklyn Schneiderhan

So she had to make do while skating, stickhandling and shooting against tougher competition on boys teams as she came of age on the ice.

Schneiderhan turned it into an advantage. Now she's an important piece to the women's team at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, a program that plays in the NCAA Division I New England Women's Hockey Alliance.

"The boys were a lot bigger and stronger than I was, but I feel like it made me think more quickly with moving the puck and shooting, and that made me better," Schneiderhan told MTN Sports during a telephone interview. "I knew if I didn't have a great shot I wouldn't be able to put the puck on net or score a goal.

"The boys were definitely faster. You had to have your head up."

The 5-foot-5 Schneiderhan, primarily a left wing, recently wrapped up her sophomore season at Saint Anselm, a year in which she finished second on the Hawks with 17 goals and 28 points and led the team in shots with 187.

The season represented a continued transition from her youth hockey career, when she played on the boys high school team in Helena for five seasons along with stints with the U14 Team Montana boys squad and the U16 AAA boys Montana Vipers, who won a Combat Cup championship in 2020.

Though she'd played on the Montana Big Sky Wildcats, a team made up of girls from across the Treasure State, it wasn't until she joined up with the Boston Shamrocks in the annual Beantown Women's Classic a few years back that a college opportunity presented itself.

"At that point I was literally just playing boys hockey, and my parents decided to put me in a tournament to see if I could play on a girls team and see what the college recruitment process was like," said Schneiderhan, who is originally from Medicine Hat, Alberta. "I had no idea. But I got a couple calls from different coaches, and Saint Anselm was my last one.

"They said, 'We're from Saint A's, we really like how you play. We watched you at Beantown and you're our top recruit.'"

When Schneiderhan visited the campus she fell in love with both the school and the women's hockey program. And the rest is history.

Brooklyn Schneiderhan

Though a broken thumb slowed her as a freshman in 2022-23, Schneiderhan still had 14 goals and 25 points to help the Hawks reach the championship game of the NEWHA tournament.

This season those numbers grew and the team advanced to the semifinals of the league tourney. In 64 career games, Schneiderhan has scored 53 points.

Still, she says she has a lot left to achieve. Among those is dialing in her shot; her shooting percentage was .091 last season.

"I always set my standards pretty high but I'm hoping to obviously win a championship with our team," said Schneiderhan, a health science major. "Personal goals, hopefully I can put more pucks in the net and then obviously be the best teammate that I can possibly be."

Schneiderhan, who played volleyball and competed in track and field at Jefferson High, plans to return to Montana this summer to train for what she hopes will be a successful junior year on the ice. Another of her objectives is for Saint Anselm to get over the hump and win the NEWHA tournament for a berth in the D-I women's national tournament.

"I've been trying to become a leader," she said. "Even if I don't have a letter (a captain's 'C' or an assistant captain's 'A') I love to lead by example. I feel like our team is going to do really well next year, and I'm really excited to be coming back.

"Hopefully we can just start the season with a bang and finish what we started this year in the playoffs."