A youthful Waldorf hockey team, which heads to the NAIA National Tournament next week, is adding some back-line strength for the future.
Warrior head coach Brett Shelanski is pleased to announce that top defender for the Steele County Blades of the United States Premier Hockey League, Tristan Klewsaat, has signed a Letter-of-Intent to begin his collegiate career on the ice with Waldorf starting in the fall of 2018.
“Tristan is the kind of defenseman that you can never have too many of,” Shelanski said. “He is responsible in his own end and makes quick, accurate breakout passes. He skates well, plays a physical game, and is difficult to play against.
“Tristan also thinks the game well and has a quick, accurate shot from the point.”
In 44 games this past season with the Blades, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound team captain and defender scored four goals and assisted on 12 others, helping guide Steele County to the USPHL playoffs in his second season playing in Owatonna, Minn.
A product of Larkspur, Colo., who attended Air Academy High School, Klewsaat’s junior career includes playing for the Glacier Nationals (Mont.) of the North American 3 Hockey League, and with Vancouver Rangers (Wash.) and the Arizona Hawks, both of the Western States Hockey League.
Four years of top-level junior hockey prepared Klewsaat for this moment – the chance to play college hockey.
“It’s something I have been dreaming of doing since I was a kid,” Tristan said. “To be able to do that at a great school like Waldorf, and see that my hard work has paid off, is very special.”
Planning to major in business, Klewsaat added: “I decided on Waldorf because I am a really huge fan of smaller class sizes and an overall smaller-school feel.
“I was also very intrigued by the new NAIA hockey division and what it could offer,” he added. “I spoke to Coach Shelanski at length about the emergence of NAIA hockey and about its promising future. I then visited Waldorf with my family and felt it was the best place to further my education along with my hockey career.”
Coach Shelanski said of the newest addition to the Warrior hockey program: “It became very evident to our staff, very quickly in the process, that Tristan is an individual with very high character. We are very pleased to welcome him to the Warrior hockey family.”