WASHINGTON, D.C. - St. Cloud native Nate Schmidt made his National Hockey League debut this past Saturday.  Schmidt is a member of the Washington Capitals.

He had been assigned to their minor league team the Hershey Bears, but after just one game with that team, he got the news last Friday that he was being called up to the Capitals.

He says his whole family was able to make it out to Washington to see him play in his NHL debut last Saturday night.

Schmidt says a couple of his buddies also surprised him at the game. He says he's been getting "a tremendous amount of support from his friends back home".

Schmidt took three shots on goal in nearly 15 minutes of ice time on Saturday night.  He played in his second game last (Monday) night against Edmonton and got two shots, in just over 19 minutes of playing time.

Schmidt says he's working on building chemistry with his defensive partners, and working on "keeping it simple".  He says there's a noticeable difference going from college hockey to the NHL, with the plays around the rink a lot quicker, and the players always in position.

Schmidt was also a member of the University of Minnesota Gophers' hockey team for three years.