The Schmaltz brothers, Nick and Jordan, used to face off in the basement of their Madison, Wis., home, all the while dreaming they would someday do so in the NHL.
With both now officially embarking on paths they hope will eventually lead there, Nick after he was selected by the Blackhawks with the 20th overall selection in the draft Friday night and Jordan after the Blues took him No. 25 in '12, the dream could be a reality.
And it could happen with teams that are quickly becoming bitter rivals.
"It would be pretty fun," Nick Schmaltz said. "Kind of throw it back to the old days when we used to battle in the basement. It would be … a dream come true to play against him. He's a D-man and I'm a forward. I think we have similar styles of game. He's an offensive defenseman with good vision, and I think that's one of my great attributes too."
The Hawks saw plenty of attributes they like in Schmaltz as they moved up in the draft to select the center, who led the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL in scoring with 18 goals and 45 points in 55 regular-season games this season.
"He's got so much talent," Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "When you're drafting where we're drafting, you're trying to get guys who have a high talent level. Nick has incredible skills. Offensively, he's one of the most talented kids in the draft."
Schmaltz will join his brother at the University of North Dakota while developing his game and said he is prepared to remain there all four years before taking his next step toward the NHL.
"(Nick) just needs to be given some time to mature and physically get stronger, but his potential is great," Bowman said. "We were really attracted to the overall package that he has in terms of his feet and his hands and his playmaking ability. And he can score as well. You look at the potential there and give him some time to develop and kind of grow into a professional. We're really excited."
As is the 18-year-old Schmaltz, who was a Hawks fan growing up and lists Patrick Kane as his favorite NHL player.
"That's what I wanted the whole year," he said. "I dreamed of being a Blackhawk, so I couldn't be happier. This is obviously a huge honor, but now the work starts."
Schmaltz is a product of the Chicago Mission, an AAA youth program. That meant plenty of time spent on the highway between Madison and Chicago.
"Two times a week for practice and one time on weekends for games," Schmaltz said. "Two-and-a-half hours each way, five hours of driving a night. I couldn't thank my parents enough."
That parental involvement has kept Schmaltz grounded, a character trait the Hawks found appealing during the interview process.
"You have to be a great kid off the ice as well, because those guys really help the locker room and the team," Schmaltz said. "It's just better if the guys are close and they're nice and they're team-first kind of guys. That's who I am and I think they like that about me."