Prince Albert’s Marek Schneider still loves playing at home

Photo by Marjorie Roden Saskatoon Blades forward Marek Schneider carries the puck into the offensive zone during a game against the Prince Albert Raiders.

Most young people wish to play for their hometown team. Others are thankful to play for a team that is within a close driving distance from their family. Such is the case with 19 year old Marek Schneider.
The 6’1.5” defenseman, who plays for the Saskatoon Blades, took a few minutes to chat about what it’s like to play for the arch-rivals of his hometown team, the Prince Albert Raiders.
“Oh man, it’s a lot different from when I was younger when I was watching the games,” Schneider said.
“It’s obviously not the most welcoming environment, when you’re playing with the Blades especially. I’d say it’s very hostile but I’d honestly almost prefer it just because it’s my hometown. I love playing in my hometown.”
In past years, other Prince Albert players have played for the Blades. Tanner Schultz, in his playing days with the Blades, had far more noisy, negative reactions when skating in the Art Hauser Centre than Schneider.
That being said, Schneider’s teammates don’t share his love of making the trip to Hockeytown North.
“Not a lot of other guys like playing in PA,” Schneider said.
“That’s what they tell me every day we (come to Prince Albert), but I love it. Even though it’s a little hostile for me, I still love playing there.”
Schneider is one of six 19-year-olds on the Blades’ roster this season. While that will create a logjam in the overage slot next year, this year he’s just focused on improving as much as he can.
“We have a lot of high expectations,” he said. “Obviously, we made a couple trades for a lot of older guys. We have a lot of returning guys, I think 19 from last year.
“We have a lot of unfinished business from last year since we were so young, and didn’t really get a chance to get rolling in the playoffs and had a first round exit (against Moose Jaw), but for this year, we have very high expectations.”
If other Prince Albert players were in the same scenario that Schneider is in right now, what wisdom would he pass along to them?
“Remember where your home is, because you can always go back home, and it’ll always feel like home even though you’re on a different team. Just work hard, you’ll never know what’s going to happen.
“I am very fortunate that I only play an hour and a half away from where I’m from, and my mum and dad take good care of me. My mum sends me cookies and my dad drives down to all the games all the time.
“Remember where you’re from, because PA’s a very blue collar town. Lots of people do a lot of hard work during the whole year. It’s a grittier place than most other cities in the WHL.
“I have lived here since grade 4, and I love the place. I love Prince Albert with my whole heart. I love calling it my home, and I’d just say, remember where your home is.”