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From Tragedy, Schwartz Finds Motivation

Blues' 2010 draft pick is dedicating his season to his sister, Mandi

Monday, 08.08.2011 / 9:26 AM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Mike Morreale  - NHL.com
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From Tragedy, Schwartz Finds Motivation
EDMONTON, Alta. -- Jaden Schwartz wanted to make one thing perfectly clear when asked how excited he was to be given another shot to accompany the Canadian National Junior Team to the World Junior Championship in December.

"From here on out, this tournament, this camp -- everything is for (my sister)," Schwartz told NHL.com following the opening day of Canada's development camp at Rexall Place. "While I'm obviously trying to do this for me, my family and for Canada; most of all, it's for her."

It was only four months ago Mandi Schwartz lost a courageous two-year battle to acute myeloid leukemia. She was only 23.

As you might expect, the wounds are still fresh and not a day goes by that Jaden doesn't think of his sister. The only difference now, he's able to put those feelings into words and share with others willing to listen.

You get the feeling Jaden wants the legacy his sister left behind to last a lifetime. But really, he needn't fear as her spirit will never fade. Her impact was that magnificent.

"She was everything to me," Schwartz said. "She was a huge inspiration in every aspect of life, whether it was hockey or the way she treated people. She kind of touched everybody, especially when she got sick; she never complained about a thing and kept fighting. She kept believing and, every chance she'd get, she'd go for a workout or skate despite being sick -- it was awesome."

Schwartz was living the dream of every hockey-crazed teenage boy this past December when informed he'd represent his country in the World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. The news came just six months after he was selected in the opening round of the 2010 Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues with the No. 14 pick.

All the while, though, Mandi struggled with her dreaded disease. The cancer would be put into remission on three occasions, including three months after undergoing a stem-cell transplant in mid-October at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

But each time it would return.

While Jaden would offer some sense of family relief by earning a spot on the 22-man Canadian roster at last year's WJC, it was brief since he was limited to just two games after suffering a broken left ankle. During his talk with the media to announce he would not play another game in the WJC, Schwartz stressed how "there's people in the world going through worse things than I am. So I'll keep that in the back of my mind."

Now, Jaden feels he has some unfinished business for Team Canada and is grateful the managerial team contacted him to get that second shot.

"Last year was disappointing, not only for myself, but for the team and the guys on the team," Schwartz said, referencing Canada's silver medal, which came after a 5-3 loss to Russia in the championship game. "It's tough when you go out from a tournament you dream of playing in, one you watched as a kid. One of the hardest things I had to do was sit there and watch."

Schwartz had 1 goal and 2 assists in two games for Canada while playing key minutes alongside center Brayden Schenn and Louis Leblanc. But it ended rather abruptly.

"I've been waiting for this camp ever since that tournament ended," Schwartz said. "Hopefully, I'll get another crack at it. I'm excited to finally be here. Sometimes you don't know how lucky you are and if you get another opportunity to play for your country, you want to make the best of it and leave everything out there because you don't know how many chances you're going to get."

This fall, Jaden will spend a good deal of time with his older brother, Rylan, as they will again be teammates on the Colorado College hockey team. Jaden will be entering his sophomore year after topping all NCAA freshmen in points per game (1.57) and winning four team awards, including MVP, in 2010-11. Rylan, entering his senior year, was third on the team in scoring with 38 points, including 10 goals.

"College hockey was an adjustment, so I think the older guys, and my brother, helped me out so you kind of get used to it," Schwartz said. "I played my game and the coaching staff trusted me with the time they gave me and it's a lot of fun.

"College hockey is fun; every game means so much and you get that confidence and keep rolling. I'm not really sure why I had success, but I went out there and improved a lot playing against older guys and stronger guys."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 48 32 10 6 143 124 70
2 NSH 46 31 10 5 141 107 67
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 48 30 16 2 151 112 62
5 WPG 49 26 15 8 138 122 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 46 26 17 3 124 118 55
8 CGY 48 26 19 3 140 126 55
9 LAK 48 21 15 12 133 129 54
10 COL 49 20 18 11 128 141 51
11 DAL 47 21 19 7 146 154 49
12 MIN 47 21 20 6 130 138 48
13 ARI 47 16 25 6 108 160 38
14 EDM 48 12 27 9 110 160 33

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 46 24 23 23 47
A. Steen 44 15 25 8 40
K. Shattenkirk 46 8 31 17 39
J. Schwartz 39 16 21 15 37
D. Backes 45 16 17 5 33
J. Lehtera 45 9 21 16 30
T. Oshie 38 13 15 11 28
A. Pietrangelo 46 4 23 0 27
P. Stastny 38 9 16 5 25
P. Berglund 45 6 9 -1 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 13 5 2 .930 1.86
J. Allen 13 5 2 .900 2.65

 
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