La Salle’ Keenan Schneider Keying Up For Flyers Cu

Keenan Schneider is looking forward to the Flyers Cup tournament.

The La Salle senior forward will be counted on to play a significant role when the Explorers face off against St. Joseph’s Prep Wednesday night in a Class AAA semifinal (6:00 at Hatfield Ice).

The Flyers Cup tournament is the highlight of the scholastic hockey season and teams, players, and coaches alike embrace it. But the tournament might mean more to Schneider than most. Just two days before Thanksgiving he suffered a shoulder injury in a game against Christian Brothers Academy. In its aftermath, Schneider thought his season and La Salle career might be at an end.

“In the heat of the moment, in the back of my head, I was thinking at it was the end of my high-school career,” he said, “and all could think about was just watching my team play on the sidelines while was out for the season. But thankfully, I got a lot of tests done, I’ve been through rehab the past four or five months. Every day I still have to work on it, my shoulder, and I’m just staying positive and keeping my strength up in my shoulder so I can prevent a further injury from happening.

It was during this period that Schneider’s teammates and in fact the entire La Salle community rallied around him. That support mean a lot to him.

“It’s one of the most important things,” he said. “The most important things about a team is sticking together. And making sure everyone is on the same page. When I got hurt, my teammates, my coaches and even some teachers were just praying for me and hoping for the best. And they were just saying “Keep your head high, it will all work itself out.”

Keenan Schneider (provided by Erin Schneider)

Schneider was able to return to the lineup and finished the APAC season with five goals and two assists. The Explorers wound up losing the Founders Cup final to Malvern Prep.

The Flyers Cup tournament offers a fresh start. The Explorers will have had a two week break before taking the ice for their semifinal, which has given Head Coach Wally Muehlbronner and his players time to do some fine tuning in practice.

“This is the most practices we’ve had in a while,” Schneider said, “because of our game schedule, and dealing with (club) and stuff.

“Basically right now, we’re just going over our system, we’re just focusing on what our game is and what we need to do to be successful.”

 Schneider, who has played approximately 85 games this season between his high school and club teams, is using the break to recharge mentally and physically.”

“I just try to stay calm and collected,” he said. ”I try to balance out (his hockey commitments) fairly evenly and just take care of my body as I get some days of rest. I just love the game so nothing can really bring me down that much where I can’t play.

“I’m always wanting to play and always wanting to compete.  And basically, just mentally staying focused on what the goal is, and that’s winning the Flyers Cup.”

Schneider’s four years of high school coincide with the APAC’s first four seasons. “The APC is probably one of the most competitive leagues I have ever played in,” Schneider said. If you don’t come out with your A game, any team can beat anyone. 

“That’s the best part about it, just how each team is competitive. Every team is good enough to beat the others. It’s always the team that shows up is the one that wins.”

Schneider cites the respect that the conference’s players and coaches display on the ice.

“Our coach and I believe every other coach, they all stress the fact to respect the game,” he said. “Every school wants to respect not only themselves but each other and who they play, to keep the game just a game and not let emotions fall though.

“I think every school is pretty respectful of each other and every school has the same goal. It can get very competitive and that’s why our league is so much more disciplined because we have that level of respect for each other.”

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