Aug 4, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT
It was inspiring to see the hockey world get behind Mandi Schwartz and even more inspiring to read about her courageous battle with cancer. Sadly, she couldn’t win that battle with leukemia in the long run, though, as the disease caused her death in April.
One of her most passionate supporters was her brother, St. Louis Blues prospect Jaden Schwartz. The 14th overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft has been forced to deal with that tragic situation and some personal hockey-related bad luck as well, as his time with last year’s Canadian World Junior Championship team was cut short last year thanks to a broken ankle.
Redemption seemed to be on Jaden’s mind when he discussed having another spot at the WJC next season during the team’s summer training camp, but honoring Mandi – and taking inspiration from her resilience – seemed like it was on the forefront. The winger said that much when he discussed his goals with the media.
“From here on out, this tournament, this camp — everything is for (my sister),” Schwartz told NHL.com following the opening day of Canada’s development camp at Rexall Place. “While I’m obviously trying to do this for me, my family and for Canada; most of all, it’s for her.”
“She was everything to me,” Schwartz said. “She was a huge inspiration in every aspect of life, whether it was hockey or the way she treated people. She kind of touched everybody, especially when she got sick; she never complained about a thing and kept fighting. She kept believing and, every chance she’d get, she’d go for a workout or skate despite being sick — it was awesome.”
Jaden will play his second year of college hockey as well next season, where he’ll join his older brother Rylan Schwartz for another campaign with Colorado College. It might be hard for fans of Colorado College’s rivals – and maybe someday the Blues’ bitterest opponents – to root against a guy like Jaden Schwartz.
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