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Olympics inspire Schneider for World Cup mettle test

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils



Although New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider has enjoyed watching the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, he's hoping for a golden moment of his own at the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

Schneider is one of three goalies (Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning; Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings) on Team USA's roster, which opens training camp on Sept. 5 and begins its pre-tournament schedule against Team Canada at Nationwide Arena in Columbus on Sept. 9 (7 p.m. ET; ESPNU, Sportsnet, TVA Sports).

Prior to the World Cup, the native of Marblehead, Mass., has been watching U.S. athletes perform in Rio.

"Swimming, track and field, it's great to watch," Schneider said. "I really enjoy the more obscure events. Handball would be my favorite because it's something that combines a lot of sports into it. You definitely need quick reaction time."

Team USA begins Group A play against Team Europe at Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sept. 17 (3:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2). The two-week tournament runs from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1.

"I think for a lot of players, an alarm system goes off in your head on Aug. 1," Schneider said. "You appreciate the summer, but you get that itch to get back to work. You want to get that feeling of competition back."

Schneider's 9-month-old son, Wyatt, is helping keep his reflexes sharp ahead of the World Cup, where eight teams will compete. When he's not keeping tabs on Wyatt, Schneider, 30, is preparing for a busy hockey schedule beginning with the World Cup followed by the 2016-17 NHL season.

"It's been a great summer," Schneider said. "A big bulk of it has been family time. Our son, he's keeping us really busy. He's pulling himself up every chance he gets, so you have to keep an eye on him all the time."

Schneider has played for the U.S. in several international tournaments. He won a gold medal at the 2003 Under-18 Junior World Cup and silver at the 2004 IIHF World U18 Championship. He also competed in the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2005 and '06 and was a member of the 2007 IIHF World Championship team, although he didn't play any games, serving as the third goalie.

"It's always exciting to play for the U.S.," said Schneider, who has played the last three NHL seasons with the Devils after a trade from the Vancouver Canucks on June 30, 2013. "It doesn't seem real yet. You'll definitely go from zero to a hundred when the games start.

"The last time I was with the U.S. was in 2007 (IIHF World Championship). I can't wait to experience it again. I don't know a lot of the guys, but it will be nice to go from having to stop them, to being on the same side with them. I know (Anaheim Ducks forward) Ryan Kesler and it was great getting to know (Devils forward) Kyle Palmieri this past season. It will be fun having them on the team."

It would be even better if Schneider and his teammates can emulate the result at the 1996 World Cup, when Team USA defeated Team Canada to win gold.

"I was 10-years-old and I can still remember it vividly," Schneider said of the best-of-three Final that ended with a 5-2 U.S. victory in Game 3. "This will be a big test for us and I can't wait for it."

NHLPA.com

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