Vancouver Province article (May the Schwartz be with Team Canada)December 23 2011 at 7:00 AM
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|N. W. Bruin (Login NW_Bruin_GM)|
May the Schwartz be with Team Canada
December 23, 2011 2:43 AM
Just call him Captain Obvious. In a unsurprising development, head coach Don Hay handed Jaden Schwartz a red Team Canada sweater Thursday morning with the letter 'C' stitched three inches above the heart.
With a handful of locals looking on at the Banff Recreation Centre, Schwartz slid the red jersey over his head to make the most automatic of captain appointments official.
The Wilcox, Sask., native joins a list of hockey stars to captain the Canadian junior team, including Theo Fleury (1988), Eric Lindros (1992) and Mike Richards (2005.)
"With Jaden, he's a real mature young man," Hay said Thursday. "It just seemed to be a real logical choice. The players really gravitate toward him.
"He's a personable young man, a mature young man, and he's got experience."
Hockey experience and life experience. On the ice, Schwartz is a superb offensive threat with soft hands and smarts. Unlike many teenage players, he hustles on the backcheck and draws penalties due to his relentless attack.
As a midget triple-A player at Notre Dame College, Schwartz scored 39 goals and added 72 assists in 44 games to break the team record previously shared by Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier.
In 11 games for Colorado College this season, Schwartz ranks second in scoring behind his older brother, Rylan, with four goals and 16 points. A first-round selection (14th overall in 2010) of the St. Louis Blues, Schwartz is pencilled in on the second line with Ryan Strome and Mark Stone for the tournament that runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Calgary.
"This is a tremendous honour," Schwartz said. "It's a huge privilege. When you look at the coaches and players who have gone though Hockey Canada and the program, it's pretty amazing."
Last year's tournament was a tough time for Schwartz.
He broke his ankle in Canada's second game, but fuelled by adrenalin, he returned to the ice in spite of the pain and scored on a power play. He watched the rest of the tournament on crutches.
Two days before Canada fell 5-3 to the Russians in the gold-medal game, the Schwartz family received crushing news from doctors in Seattle. Schwartz's older sister, Mandi, a hockey star at Yale University, had battled leukemia for two years. On Jan. 3, the specialists told her there was nothing more they could do.
She died on April 3 at age 23.
"It just puts things in perspective when you go through adversity like that," Schwartz said. "That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with. You know if you can get through that, you can get through anything."
© Copyright (c) The Province
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