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Hard work nets Schneider contract with Flames

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

-- Nick Schneider turned an NHL camp invite into an NHL contract.

Schneider, invited to participate at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton and graduating to main camp, is the newest addition to the Flames after signing a three-year, entry-level deal Wednesday.

“It’s a surreal feeling right now,” Schneider said. “I’m really excited to be a part of this organization. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s an incredible feeling.”

It was well earned, declared assistant general manager Brad Pascall.

“He was a guy that has impressed over the last couple of weeks,” Pascall said. “I think his play, his work ethic, his compete, and his attitude has impressed our goalie coaches, our management, and our scouts. We were looking to bring another goaltender into Penticton and he came recommended through a number of people, including our scouts.

“He was a guy that really had an attitude of competing hard and really impressing. What he did was come into camp and impressed. Because of that, we felt that he was a player that we want in our organization and are excited to have in our organization.”

Judged as the ninth best goaltending prospect from the North American crop, the 18-year-old Schneider went unplucked at the 2015 NHL Draft, and accepted a free agent invite to join the Flames through rookie camp.

Impressing in one period, plus overtime, of action against the Vancouver Canucks, and again putting in extra duty at main camp with Jon Gillies (concussion protocol), Jonas Hiller (flu) and Mason McDonald (undisclosed) all absent early on.

The extra time allowed the right-handed catcher to showcase himself.

“It was nice to be able to get some more ice time and show what you can bring to the table,” said Schneider, who went 15-7-1 with a 2.82 goals against average and .898 save percentage in 27 Western Hockey League games with the Medicine Hat Tigers last season. “It was definitely a great opportunity. You didn’t really have too much time to think. Things just kept going and I kept staying more days. It was a great time and a great experience.

“I’m definitely more confident but at the same time, I want to keep developing and play the best I can every night, every practice, and keep getting better.”

Schneider, Pascall declared, is the latest example of the organization’s ‘Always Earned, Never Given’ mantra.

Albeit, with a twist.

“We live by that,” Pascall said. “Players that are here with that attitude, with that impressive play and work ethic are players that we want in our organization. Nick showed that over the last few weeks. Obviously he’s a young goaltender, but he has a real good development plan going forward that we’re going to be following up with him on.

“We are excited to have him as part of the Calgary Flames organization.”

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