By: Stephanie Coratti
There’s something different about Nate Schnarr.
It could be the added swagger that comes from a start that features 12 points through the first six games of the 2018-19 season, recognition as one of the team’s leaders with an ‘A’ on his sweater, or the extra year of experience for the now third-year Guelph Storm forward.
Or, it just might be confidence.
“I’d probably say my surgery,” Schnarr said of his biggest challenge, referring to his shoulder procedure in April 2017. “So much of my life has revolved around hockey, so not being able to be physically active and not be on the ice every day, was hard for me.”
“You don’t want to make excuses, but instead of trying to get ahead of your peers, and trying to become the strongest you can, you’re playing catch-up and missing three months of working out,” Schnarr continued, reflecting back. “I don’t think I realized how behind I was until this summer because then you get a full summer in, to feel strong, improve yourself… it feels good.”
Schnarr, who was also able to skate for the first time with the Arizona Coyotes this offseason since being sidelined following his third-round selection in 2017, simply credited opportunities for the newfound poise.
“I think if you’re nervous about the season, you didn’t work hard enough in the offseason,” the Waterloo, Ontario native said. “Going down to Toronto once a week to work with [Barb Underhill], my trainer was amazing this summer, and Arizona having me down for two weeks pushing me there, giving me tips to translate here… it gives you a whole other level of confidence and another sense that you can push yourself to that next level.”
Although, if you were to ask the six-foot-three, 190-pound forward, he hasn’t changed much.
“I wouldn’t say that I’ve changed, I would say my lifestyle has changed,” Schnarr said, focusing on his habits around his billet home. “I’m in university, interacting in the community, and I’m learning how to do the little things like laundry, make my own meals – hopefully one day I’m going to be playing professional hockey and on my own so it’s good to have a support staff to help me ease into these things.”
All while adding that it still feels like his first year in the Royal City.
“All three years blend into one – time flies when you’re doing something you love so, coming to the rink every day with a smile on your face, it’s pretty easy to do.”
A smile that the Storm veteran has always worn on his way to achieving his NHL dream, especially as of late.
“It was unbelievable – they gave me the chance to play in my first exhibition game and I fortunately scored a goal, and to say that I competed against former Storm players like Drew Doughty and people that I grew up idolizing… it was a surreal moment for me,” Schnarr said of one of his proudest moments to date – something that comes pretty close to his 2017 NHL Draft moment. “It’s hard to find words for both of those moments – they’re moments you dreamed about, so being able to live them… you just see the photos and the look on my face was priceless. Those moments, the emotions take over and it’s perfect.”
Now a leader on a strong Storm squad, Schnarr is looking ahead to what this season can become.
“Obviously I want to continue to develop as a player and as a leader on this team – something I take pride in is leading this team,” he explained, adding that five years of captaincy in minor hockey helps the leadership element come naturally. “Something that I’ve been taught from early in my hockey career is individual success comes from team success, so if your team’s doing well, then you’re doing something right…”
“The main priority for myself and I believe everybody in our room, is to win hockey games, go deep in the playoffs, and hopefully bring a championship back to Guelph.”