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by Derek Wangler / Buffalo Sabres
Rick Schofield (Micheline Veluvolu)

Amerks forward Rick Schofield grew up in Pickering, Ontario, about 30 minutes east of Toronto. He and his brother Dan played hockey on their backyard rink all winter long. There was also a rink about a minute away from his house that he walked to.

“That’s what we did for fun as kids in the winter especially,” said Schofield, 25. “And in the summer it was pretty much roller hockey. That’s what it was like growing up in my city.”

After watching his older brother, Dan, go play hockey at Geneseo College, Schofield decided that was the best route for him as well. Schofield was a standout at Lake Superior State University right from the time he stepped onto campus in 2007. The small college in the state of Michigan had a good finance program, but that’s not the only reason he chose to play there.

“I was really looking forward to going somewhere where I could play,” said Schofield. “The coach [at LSSU] really wanted me, and that’s what I looked for. If they want you, you’re probably going to play and as long as you work hard you’re going to get the opportunity.”

Schofield’s offensive numbers increased every year at Lake Superior State, including a career-best 35 points (17+18) in 39 games in his senior season. When he was finishing up that senior year in 2010-11, Schofield talked with Anaheim about moving to the pros. Schofield would sign one-year entry level contract with the Ducks, collecting eight goals and 17 points in 73 games with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch last season. He wasn’t re-signed by Anaheim, but got a call from Amerks head coach Ron Rolston. That conversation eventually led to a one-year AHL contract with Rochester that was inked on July 3.

“It kind of came down to my Lake Superior days where the coach was interested, and I knew that this team was happy about me coming in,” said Schofield. “Being able to hear it from the coach himself there’s definitely an added bonus because he’s the one that’s going to be playing you and behind you on the bench. I just had a good feeling about it.”

The six-foot-two Schofield has seven points (3+4) in 18 games for the Amerks this season, and has found himself playing more of a defensive role centering the team’s fourth line. While his offensive numbers are down from his college days, Schofield understands his new responsibilities in the pros.

“I’ve just tried to be a little smarter. You obviously can’t make as many mistakes as you can in college. I could make a couple and get away with it in college, but at this level it’s not gonna fly.”

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