Brad Shelstad was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and began his goalie career at age 5 on his family’s backyard rink with all homemade equipment. He played four years of high school hockey at Minneapolis Southwest under head coach Dave Peterson. Peterson went on to coach the 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympic teams. Brad played in the State Tournament in 1968, 1969 and 1970, winning a state championship in his senior year of 1970. He was voted All-City 3 times, and to the All-Metro team in 1970. Brad also played on the high school golf team.
Following his graduation, Brad attended the University of Minnesota from 1970- 1974, earning 4 varsity letters in hockey. The most successful of those seasons was his senior year when the Gophers won the school’s first ever, National Championship. Brad was named the Tournament MVP, First-team All WCHA, and was the John Mariucci MVP Award winner. Brad played for Glen Sonmor and for Herb Brooks. After a brief minor league stint at Fort Wayne, Brad finished an undergraduate degree from the College of Education.
Brad produced one of the great saves in state tournament history. The 1970 title game between Southwest and Edina was scoreless in the final seconds of the third period when Hornets forward Bob Krieger got loose on a fast break. Brad dropped down and stacked his pads to stop Krieger’s shot — one of his 11 third-period saves. The game went to overtime, where Southwest scored to win the program’s only state title. Brad stopped 22 shots in that the game. He then backstopped the University of Minnesota to an NCAA championship in 1974, stopping 22 shots in a 4-2 victory over Michigan Tech in the title game.
Coach Shelstad began his coaching career at New Prague high school in 1979 as the Trojans first varsity hockey coach. After 6 seasons he moved to St. Mary's College in Winona as assistant hockey coach. Following a year as a full-time student at Winona State for special education licensure, he began his "second" high school coaching career. Again, Brad was the varsity coach of a program in its infancy at Wadena-Deer Creek, a position he held for 13 years. His teams had an overall record of 183 wins, 119 losses and 5 ties, reaching the section finals in 1994 and 2000. Brad collected coaching awards during this period including Section 8 Coach of the Year in 1993, and Section 4A Coach of the Year in 1994 and 2000. A number of Brad's players went on to play college hockey. He also coached boy’s golf for 13 years, 5 of them as head coach.