At the age of seven, Ice Knights head coach Chris Schultz began his lifelong journey with the sport of hockey. He has now coached 12 full seasons at Geneseo, but his path here was filled with various adventures, hard work and a lot of learning experiences.
Schultz grew up in Rochester. He spent his early years in the sport competing for the Rochester Youth Hockey Organization. At the age of 12 he decided to commit to hockey full time, and he has not looked back since. Schultz attended and played hockey at the Aquinas Institute during his high school years. Schultz credits his early hockey years for shaping who he is as a person.
“[Hockey] always had an influence on me. From a young age, it taught me how to be on a team. It taught me how to be social,” Schultz said. “It has a major influence on who I am today.”
Following his high school years, Schultz played one year of junior hockey for the Rochester Monarchs junior team. He was then recruited to play hockey at Geneseo for the class of 1997—his first experience with the program that he now coaches.
Years would pass before Schultz found his way back to Geneseo. He spent his time after graduating from college as a teacher at Spencerport High School and began to coach hockey at the high school level.
Not everyone makes the transition from player to coach, but Schultz could not imagine his life without hockey.
“I think I have this internal problem called competitiveness,” Schultz said.
When the head-coaching job at Geneseo became available he jumped at the opportunity to be able to coach year-round.
Schultz has seen everything while coaching at Geneseo. His teams have achieved success, experienced failures and have even found themselves somewhere in between those two extremes. These experiences have taught Schultz to prepare his players for every possible scenario on the ice.
Spending time as both a player and a coach has given Schultz two distinct perspectives on the sport. Players and coaches look at the game differently, and this can put them at odds with each other at times.
“As a player you’re thinking selfishly, ‘why did I get switched?’ As a coach, you’re looking at the whole picture. ‘I’m making this adjustment because everybody’s going to benefit from it,’” Schultz said.
This is the reason why Schultz preaches team culture; he hopes to convince his players to buy into a team atmosphere and abandon some of the selfish tendencies they may have as players.
Schultz and his players are coming off a SUNYAC Championship season. Schultz always strives for more, but it is safe to say this past season was stong. His time at Geneseo has been successful overall, despite some slip-ups along the way.
Schultz’s accomplishments as a coach can be attributed to his vast experience with the sport, his intense competitive drive and his ability to instill a team-first mindset in his players. His time at Geneseo is just a fraction of his hockey life.
“It’s like an identifier for me as a person,” Schultz said. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but that’s how they remember me.”
It is certainly a good thing. After all, in life it is best to be known for something than nothing at all.