Wednesday, 17 August 2011 11:02

Schneider officially joins Broncos coaching staff

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Swift Current Broncos are looking to their past in order to build for the future.

Andy Schneider, who played with the Broncos from 1989-93, has officially joined the team as an assistant coach for the 2011-12 season.

“I’m really excited for this,” said Schneider, who will be responsible for conditioning and skill development. “It’s another chapter in my life. I’m retiring from hockey and I’m able to stay in hockey in a different capacity and I’m excited to be with the Broncos in a different capacity.”

Schneider ended a 19-year career as a professional hockey player after his 2010-11 campaign in Austria and Germany. His professional hockey career was largely spent in Europe, although he spent a little time in the National Hockey League, American Hockey League and International Hockey League.

Prior to heading into his final season as a player, the 39-year-old spent a lot of time with the Broncos as their dryland training instructor. He enjoyed his time in that role and asked Mark Lamb, the team’s head coach and general manager, if he could continue working with the Broncos during this upcoming season.

Lamb jumped at the opportunity to bring Schneider on to the coaching staff full-time, and is excited about the prospect of working with him again.

“I thought last year when he left in November that it left a pretty big hole,” said Lamb. “He was in here every day and when you’d bring guys in for the breakfast club, they’d work out and it’s nice having another guy when you get busy to take care of the kids.

“It’s a good fit. He gets along well with the guys. He knows what it takes and he wants to get into coaching.”

Schneider knows it will be a large adjustment for him to go from playing to coaching.

He admits he has a lot to learn, including more about the Western Hockey League and the Broncos’ players. He is anticipating being eased into the position with a few smaller jobs and gradually taking on more responsibilities.

It’s also going to be a big challenge for him to move from sitting on the bench between shifts to standing behind it.

“It’s going to be a big change for me, but I’m looking forward to it,” said Schneider. “Mark said he’s going to try some different things in pre-season with me behind the bench and sometimes up in the stands to get a different perspective of what’s happening on the ice. The game is so fast that sometimes you don’t always see what’s happening at ice level.”

As excited as Schneider is to rejoin the Broncos, his new job will add some extra stress to his life.

He is still going to work at BodyFit Fitness Lounge, which he owns, during the mornings before going to the Credit Union i-plex to prepare for practices. He expects to work with players after normal practice times on faceoffs, offensive strategies to create scoring opportunities and other parts of the game.

He is also planning to attend every home game and as many road games as he can this season.

Add his need to spend time with his family, which was the reason he retired from hockey. Schneider knows he’s going to be busy once training camp starts Aug. 22.

Schneider, however, is fine with that. He’s looking forward to challenging himself by becoming a coach and helping to develop the young Bronco players into potential league champions in a few years.

“I’ve been talking with Mark about the future of the Broncos and it’s exciting when you look at how things are shaping up two or three years from now,” he said. “If everything goes as we plan it to go, the team has a bright future, but it’s a work in progress. We have a lot of work ahead of us trying to develop these players. If we can do our jobs properly we should have a good team here for a few years.”

The Broncos training camp for newly-acquired players will run from Aug. 22-23. Approximately 80 players will attend the regular training camp Aug. 24, which will be open to the public.

The team will hold its annual Black-White intrasquad game on Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. Tickets will be $5 each with $2 from every ticket being donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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