By Scott Linesburgh
The Stockton Record
STOCKTON, Calif. – Brandon Schwartz plans one day to show as much passion in a court room as he does when he’s playing hockey.
But for now, he’s still having fun on the ice, and the law books can wait.
Schwartz has been a reliable leader all season and his game is heating up in the final month of the season for the Thunder, which plays host to the Fresno Falcons at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Stockton Arena.
He put off attending law school this season to play with the Thunder (24-32-3), a decision which continues to make coach Chris Cichocki happy.
“He’s been a solid two-way player for us,” Cichocki said. “You bet we’re glad he’s here.”
For the hockey player who will become a lawyer, both professions appeal to his competitive nature.
“Hockey is challenging, and I look forward to the challenge of trying to find the different case law that applies to your case at hand, and trying to write the briefs,” Schwartz said. “It’s very interesting.”
The current challenge is to help the Thunder make the playoffs. And Schwartz, an assistant captain who has argued his share of cases in front of ECHL officials, has been one of Stockton’s most productive players recently.
Schwartz started slow, but February was his best month as he tallied 13 points in 14 games, and he has four points in the first three contests of March. He has a total of 41 points in 59 games, and Cichocki said you have to look at more than statistics to rate Schwartz’s game.
“Do I wish he had more points? Sure, but I think he’s had a real good season,” Cichocki said. “He’s a very intelligent player who has also been a real leader for this team, He’s had some very big goals.”
Among those scores was a nice-looking goal against the Cincinnati Cyclones, who the Thunder beat 3-1 on March 1 to end Cincinnati’s ECHL-record 17-game winning streak.
To join the Thunder, Schwartz, 26, deferred a year at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn. He worked for his father Michael, an attorney in Chanhassen, Minn., during the summer and still spends 20 or 30 hours a week clerking for him.
After the season, he’ll make some important decisions.
“I’ll see if there’s (American Hockey League) offers, or if the Thunder wants me back and decide what to do,” Schwartz said. “But right now, I’m concentrating on winning.”