When the 2019-20 season came to an end, Braden Schneider was enjoying a career year with the Brandon Wheat Kings as the Prince Albert native tallied seven goals while adding 35 assists.
The Wheat Kings were poised to top the East Division as they were just six points behind the Raiders for the top spot but ultimately, the Wheat Kings didn't get the chance to prove how strong of a team they were and Braden wasn't provided with the chance to continue his career year when the novel coronavirus shut things down in mid-March.
A blow, without a doubt, but Braden stayed positive knowing things would turn around and he would eventually get back on the ice with his Wheat Kings teammates. Before that, NHL draft day arrived and the Wheat King defender was selected 19th overall by the New York Rangers. Following the virtual draft -- something that no one has experienced before, Braden entered the Team Canada bubble to go through yet another experience that so many have never and will never get the chance to go through.
One year after being a snub of the Canadian junior hockey team, Schneider was given his chance to play in the annual IIHF World Junior Championships as he made Team Canada.
After serving a suspension early in the tournament, he went on to score once and add two assists in six tournament games as Team Canada finished in second, behind their American rivals.
"It was a ton of fun, we had a great team and a great group of guys," said Schneider. "We were very fortunate to be able to play and it was a lot of fun. It was an experience that we all will benefit from."
The life of a professional:
Known as a defender that is as steady as it comes, Braden was given the opportunity to make the jump up to the American Hockey League as he joined the Hartford Wolf Pack to begin the season, the AHL affiliate of the Rangers.
Braden got into two games with the team and he racked up one assist. That assist came back on February 11 in a 4-0 win against the Providence Bruins. Schneider was also a +1 over his two games.
"That league is so different, it was boys to men for me," said Schneider. "I was a sponge, I just wanted to soak in as much as possible during my time with the team. I'm really looking forward to the future with the Rangers organization."
Wheat City leader:
With two games under his belt, Braden is now quarantining as he prepares to head to Regina with his Wheat Kings teammates ahead of the start of the WHL season on March 12. Brandon's first game this season will mark a big milestone for Braden as he has played in 199 games (including playoffs) with the Wheat Kings. He needs to play 15 to reach the 200 games regular-season mark with the only WHL team he has played for.
And when the Wheat Kings do hit the ice in game action next month, Schneider will wear the 'C' as he's been named this year's captain. This after he served as an assistant captain for the past two seasons.
"I was ecstatic to know that I was named the captain," stated Schneider. "We have a lot of great players and leaders on our team so to be named captain means that much more. It's a tremendous honour for me and I'll wear it proud."
Braden says the most important thing for the team is staying positive when entering the bubble after he experienced the Team Canada bubble.
"This is such a great opportunity for us to get super close as a team and if we make the most of it, it will be a ton of fun," ended Schneider.