SCSU wing already has undergraduate degree, plan in place for when his hockey career is over
Former Park Rapids High School forward Chase Brand graduated with a degree in finance last spring. He is working on a master's degree and snapped a long scoring drought against MSU-Mankato on Saturday.
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Chase Brand is someone who knows what he wants to do when he is done playing hockey.
When Brand got to St. Cloud State in the fall of 2019, he came in with 30 college credits because he had taken courses as a senior at Park Rapids High School.
So last spring, after his third year of college, Brand graduated with a degree in finance. This fall, he has started working on a master's degree in finance. His father, Craig, owns Brand Financial Services in Nevis, Minn.
During last offseason, Chase did some work for his dad and he has a long-term goal for his professional life after hockey.
"Any time you can get education paid for, that's kind of a dream and that's the reason why I came to college," said Brand, a senior for the Huskies men's hockey team. "I did some paperwork for him over the summer and I've talked about getting my insurance license ... I just need to take some online courses, probably after the season is done. That would allow me to do a lot more.
"(My dad has) built up a great business, a lot of good clients. He has a ton of freedom and is his own boss. Something I've talked to him about is taking over the business. The freedom to be your own boss seems really good to me ... that would be a good backup plan for sure."
Brand has earned NCHC Scholar Athlete honors each of the last two seasons. To be eligible, a player must have a 3.5 cumulative grade-point average or better with a full year of academic studies.
When the Huskies reached the 2021 national championship game, Brand was the NCAA's Elite 90 winner for posting the highest GPA of any athlete at the Frozen Four.
This weekend, second-ranked St. Cloud State (6-0) plays a home-and-home nonconference series against Bemidji State (2-1-1). The teams play at 7:07 p.m. Friday at the Sanford Center in Bemidji (FloHockey) and at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud (FOX 9+).
The end of a scoring drought
Brand and Huskies go into the series coming off a big weekend. St. Cloud State swept Minnesota State University-Mankato in a nonconference series last weekend at the Brooks Center. The Mavericks went into the series ranked second and reached the national championship game in April.
Brand, coming off an injury, scored a big goal in the second game of that series. His tip-in of an Ondrej Trejbal shot gave the Huskies a 3-1 lead in a game that they would go on to win, 4-3.
"There's no egos in here and all that I cared about — and every single guy in this room cares about — is getting the win," Brand said. "It doesn't matter who's scoring. That was my first goal in a long time. That definitely felt good."
To be precise, Brand had played 37 straight games since his last goal. He scored two goals in the season-opening game against St. Thomas on Oct. 2, 2021.
"In our system in the offensive zone, we have one guy in front of the net and that just happened to be me," Brand said of his goal against MSU. "Whenever puck goes low to high, I just try to get some separation from my guy in front and get my stick out in front of me. Ondrej put a perfect shot in there: not too hard, waist high. I just stuck my stick out and, thankfully, it went in.
"There was a lot of frustration with not scoring and excitement, obviously," he said of his celebration after the goal. "That was pure emotion."
It was a relatively late decision to put Brand in the lineup for the series. He suffered a wrist injury in the second game of the season, missed the series against Wisconsin and had not been a full contact practice until Wednesday, Oct. 19. The decision for him to play in the series did not come until after practice on Thursday.
Brand also kills penalties and the Huskies were 7-for-8 on the penalty kill in the series against the Mavericks.
"Chase had a great weekend," Huskies head coach Brett Larson said of Brand, who had five shots on goal and was a plus-1 in the series. "We're really glad he played. I thought he played good, solid minutes. He always plays the right way. It was great to see him have a great tip for a goal and be able to celebrate that."
Playing his role
Brand does a lot of things that casual fans may not appreciate, but the coaching staff and his teammates are aware of the role he plays.
"He's in the right place, the right position, makes the right play," Larson said. "You can play him on any line and against anybody. He's not flashy. You probably don't notice him most nights.
"But he's a guy you can definitely trust in almost any situation."
Brand has 12 goals and 28 points in 97 career college games. His last season of junior hockey, he showed that there is some offense in his game. He had 17 goals and 53 points in 62 regular season games for the Madison Capitols of the United States Hockey League in 2018-19.
He takes pride in the role that he has with the Huskies.
"First and foremost, playing well defensively is kind of my M.O.," he said. "Killing penalties is also something I take pride in.
"But when I'm playing well, I'm creating offense as well. Anytime you can get scoring from your bottom six (forwards), it's a huge boost for a team," said Brand, who played on a line with sophomore center Mason Salquist and junior wing Joe Molenaar. "When our line is playing well, we're sound defensively, keeping pucks in the offensive zone, not letting the other team get on offense."