St. Cloud, MN – With the flurry of commitments to the Huskies over the past two weeks, incoming defenseman, Brady Ziemer may have been lost in the shadows a bit. With his trademark flowing locks of hair, Brady Ziemer has this baby boomer longing for the days when I was part of a “hair line” in high school hockey. But, I digress, that was many years ago.
Ziemer, who committed to the Huskies in June of 2017, has quietly gone about his business preparing for his time as a player for the St. Cloud State Huskies. His time will come this fall when he joins the Huskies as a first-year defenseman on a unit that has gone through a metamorphosis of it’s own. Losing two of the most popular and productive defensemen in Husky hockey history in Jimmy Schuldt after the 2018-19 season and Jack Ahcan after the 2019-20 season has the defensive unit looking for a new personality devoid of those two outstanding players. Ziemer looks to inject his style of play into the mix.
Initially recruited by the previous coaching staff, former SCSU assistant Garrett Raboin described Ziemer as a “throwback”, the style of player that we see less and less of these days in this age of speed, finesse and skill back at the blue line. Don’t get me wrong, Ziemer has the skill to connect on pin-point passes and transition the puck quickly but don’t expect him to be burying the puck that often. He’s only netted five goals in 105 junior hockey games and only once last season in 45 games despite possessing a strong shot. More than anything, his 139 minutes of penalties stands out in his statistics and it’s an unlikely reflection of the physical play of a defenseman that is only 5’10” and 180 pounds. But, that’s his style of play. He’s strong and compact, plays the physical game and will make an open-ice hit. Most likely, that’s what caught the eye of Raboin, another undersized defenseman who played the same way.
Ziemer told me “I believe that I’m at my best when I’m hard to play against. Penalties sometimes come with that because I am battling and working as hard as I can. I always stand up for my teammates as well and I’m not afraid to mix it up every once in awhile. Being physical and being hard to play against is a big part of my game and I make sure to always have my teammates backs. Regardless of the stat line, in the end, I want the opposition to feel like they had to fight for every inch during my shift.”
Ziemer was a four-year player for Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria, MN, an assistant captain his sophomore and junior years and team captain his senior season. The team hit the high watermark in 2017-18 with a 21-3-1 record suffering a painful 5-4 two overtime loss to Minnetonka and fellow 2020-21 incoming Husky, Joey Molenaar who scored a goal in that section final game. Ziemer finished his senior season with 7 goals and 21 assists for 28 points and 40 penalty minutes.
A draft choice of the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL Futures Draft in 2016, Ziemer attended their camp in 2018 but despite impressing, the team had a log-jam of players at defense and Ziemer opted to join the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League for the 2018-19 season. It turned out to be a good move with Ziemer logging 55 games of experience compiling 19 points and 73 penalty minutes in 60 games. He turned in an outstanding defensive season and earned the team award for the best plus-minus on the Centennials.
Drafted #36 by the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL in 2019, Ziemer joined the squad for the 2019-20 season and put forth another exemplary defensive year finishing third overall on the team in plus-minus at +13 (one plus-minus behind the leaders) with 7 points and 72 penalty minutes.
Extremely complimentary of the Green Bay Gamblers coaching staff, Ziemer said “the season at Green Bay was something I will never forget, the coaching staff and my teammates were such great people that it made my time in Green Bay very enjoyable. Not only did coaches Mikesh, Petersen and Hietala help me become a better player throughout the year, they also developed me into a better person. I have nothing but great things to say about the Green Bay organization.”
He’ll join the Huskies defensive unit in 2020-21 along with North Oaks, MN native Seamus Donohue, a graduate transfer from Michigan Tech University. The two couldn’t be more diverse experience-wise with Ziemer joining the team as a 20 year-old with no collegiate experience and Donohue, entering as a 24 year-old with 117 collegiate games under his belt. However, there is a common thread between these two and all of the players joining the Huskies this season. All of them, Ziemer, Donohue, Cockrell, Molenaar, Miettinen and Johnston have captained their previous teams pointing to the high character and leadership qualities of all these players.
SCSU head coach Brett Larson, a former defenseman explained “good defenders create offense and transitioning with that first pass out of the defensive zone.” He describes Ziemer as a “gritty, hard defender willing to play physical, block shots but with the ability to make that first pass.” In a way he compares him to former SCSU defenseman, Jon Lizotte, a defensive partner of Jimmy Schuldt and now with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. But beyond that, Larson states Ziemer was one of the most respected players by his teammates in Green Bay. One NHL scout told him that when Ziemer scored his first and only goal for Green Bay last season “the entire bench erupted they were so happy for their teammate.”
With his junior hockey season cut short due to COVID-19 and the State of Minnesota shut-down, it’s been difficult for players to train for the upcoming season. It’s been no different for Ziemer but he’s dealing with it. “Considering the lock-down, my preparation for next season is a bit different since I cannot access a weight room” he said. “I will continue to focus on nutrition and make sure I stay in shape with body weight workouts at my house until I can get back in a weight room to put on size and speed. ” And, once he gets to campus he’ll have access to a brand new SCSU performance training facility completed prior to the 2019-20 season.
“I’m extremely excited to join SCSU and help continue the winning culture that they have created” said Ziemer. “I’m excited to become a part of the family that this team has built and create relationships that will last forever. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s a great group of guys who all have the same mindset and I can’t wait to join.”