Stefan Schneider felt more comfortable in his second tour of duty during the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars tournament.
Schneider, a Vernon minor hockey product, is in his second season with the Canucks organization and loved playing in Penticton.
“My friends and family can come out and watch,” said Schneider, following the Canucks’ 5-3 win against the San Jose Sharks. “Having any support definitely helps. My family doesn’t get to watch me too much.”
It’s especially true since he spent his first pro season with the Manitoba Moose. Schneider said it’s good for them to see him playing. The six-foot-four, 206-pound forward aimed to show the Canucks that he will use his size and can be a solid checker. In his first season in the American Hockey League, Schneider collected two goals and four points in 47 games.
“My role is of a defensive player,” he said.
The former Vancouver Giant and Portland Winterhawk found his rookie AHL season to be an important learning year. He felt the AHL is great for development and was glad to play a full year.
Being with the Canucks has been a dream come true for him.
“I was on Cloud 9,” he said. “I feel a lot more comfortable this year, especially in this tournament.”
The tournament is to set the stage for him to continue to impress the brass for a shot at the NHL club. If that doesn’t happen, he is quite happy in going to Chicago to play with the Wolves.
“The competition is a step up,” he said. “I will be the most inexperienced coming from the most experienced (in the Young Stars).
As for the atmosphere during the tournament, Schneider liked the fan support, especially during the 4 p.m. games.
“You would think people would be working but we had a good crowd out there the last two games,” he said. “They are definitely the seventh man out there for us.”
He also praised the Penticton Vees for their hospitality and loved the dressing room.