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Turning pro

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Jordan Schroeder is looking for redemption. The Manitoba Moose are looking to lockdown a playoff spot. This pairing makes more sense than peanut butter and jelly.

Schroeder, who signed with the Canucks Wednesday, couldn’t be happier to be heading to the Moose and the team is elated to have him.

Manitoba, the second lowest scoring team in the AHL’s Western Conference, is currently in fourth place in the North Division, five points ahead of Lake Erie for the final playoff spot, with 12 games remaining.

When the Moose hit the ice Sunday, Vancouver’s 2009 first round pick will be in the line-up looking to help the team any way he can and turn around what has been a mediocre season by his standards.

Schroeder’s Minnesota Golden Gophers were eliminated by North Dakota in the first round of the conference playoffs last weekend. That ended a sophomore campaign where the 20-year-old recorded nine goals and 19 assists for 28 points in 37 games, a season after tallying 45 points (13-32-45) in 35 games and being named WCHA Rookie of the Year.

“Personally, obviously it wasn’t the best season I’ve had, you face adversity though throughout your career and I learned from it and now I can move on,” said Schroeder Thursday.

“The confidence is maybe a little bit down, but I’m a hockey player, I love the game and I want to get back into things here and finish off a great season with Manitoba.”

Manitoba is where many thought Schroeder would spend this season following his breakout rookie year in Minnesota. Wisely, Schroeder declined signing with the team to get another year of schooling under his belt.

Rumors swirled throughout the season that Schroeder was unhappy with his team’s performance and was seeking to play in the WHL, but he confirmed there was no truth that. It was always Minnesota or Manitoba.

When signing with the Canucks and beginning his pro career became an option again, Schroeder pounced at the chance.

“I think it was just that I was ready to move on and everybody wants to be a pro hockey player someday and I think me and my family made a good decision,” Schroeder said.

“I’ve always played up and challenged myself and we obviously didn’t have the greatest year in Minnesota but that wasn’t the process I was looking at, I just felt I was ready to move on. I want to be a pro hockey player and I’m following my dreams.”

Although Schroeder wasn’t a major standout with the Golden Gophers, on the international stage he was far from granola.

The Prior Lake, Minnesota product scored and had a team-high six shots in a 6-5 overtime win over Canada to claim gold at the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

Schroeder finished his third World Junior tournament with three goals and five assists for eight points in seven games, giving him seven goals and 20 assists for 27 points to break Jeremy Roenick’s all-time points record of 25 (13-12-25) with Team USA.

Schroeder also sits third on the all-time assists list at the World Juniors having surpassed Eric Lindros and his 19 helpers.

Already anxious to begin his pro career after a great rookie camp with the Canucks last summer, Schroeder was now sure he was ready for the next step on he heels of his World Junior performance.

Regardless, he stands behind his decision to play out his second season with Minnesota.

“I think this extra year I really benefited from in a maturity standpoint,” he said, adding that Vancouver’s management team played no role in his decision to leave the Golden Gophers.

“I’m sure they wanted me to come out, but ultimately it was up to me and my family and we obviously came to a decision.”

Schroeder’s challenge now is proving he made the right decision and that starts Sunday when Manitoba hosts the Grand Rapids Griffins.

“I’m going to go in there and maybe watch a game or two and maybe practice a bit and see how the team is and get used to the staff. I’ve heard nothing but great things there and they run a great organization.”

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