Game On Magazine September 2015 - Page 59

I t’s not like the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League needs a little extra public relations push, but if there was ever a spokesman required to promote the league’s benefits, the board of directors might want to talk with Devon Schade of the Transcona Railer Express. Schade, who doubles as the Manitoba Amateur Golf Champion and the No. 1 player on the University of Manitoba golf team, probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to play the golf he does today without the MMJHL. The league has also given him an opportunity to play competitive hockey and still work hard on his marks at school. The story is a simple and classic one: Schade was playing in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines when he realized, “I gotta get back to school.” (Sounds a lot like Michael Gorrie, a former Virden Oil Capital who is now an MMJHL champion with the St. Boniface Riels). As outstanding all-around athlete from Beausejour, Schade was a particularly good hockey player and golfer. However, since the National Hockey League wasn’t about to offer him a contract, perhaps the golf swing that would eventually win him the 2015 Manitoba Amateur Golf Championship could get him a university scholarship. “I’ve known (U of M golf coach) Garth Goodbrandson for a long time and I really like him,” said Schade, who was joined on Manitoba’s Willingdon Cup team at the Canadian Amateur championship by Ryan Sholdice of the MMJHL’s Raiders. “Garth is a great coach and I always wanted to play for him so when he offered me a spot on the team, I couldn’t say no.” Turns out, after he struggled a little with academics in his first year at the U of M, everything in his life has come together. School was tremendous in Year 2 and now he’s working to get into the Asper School of Business. He’s also enjoying his hockey career again. “Yeah, I decided to leave Wayway and the Manitoba Junior League and got an offer to play for the Transcona Railer Express in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League,” he said. “That’s been a great experience. It’s really high-level competitive junior hockey and yet it still offers me the chance to play golf at the U of M and work on my marks so I can, hopefully, get into the Asper School.” Schade, 20, started playing hockey at a very young age (“Gee, I think I was three or four.”) in Beausejour. He played all of his minor hockey there, played bantam with the Northern Knights and then midget with the Manitoba Midget Hockey League’s Eastman Selects. Although only 5-foot-9, 150 pounds, he was selected by the Portage Terriers in the MJHL bantam draft and at 17 played 50 games with the Terriers and had seven goals and six assists. He was traded to Wayway, where he scored nine goals and dished out 10 assists in 2013-14. Living away from home in Western Manitoba and playing in front of small crowds in Waywayseecappo, it was obvious to him that it was time to get back to Winnipeg and into university. “Wayway was alright and I liked (head coach) Barry Butler, but when an offer arose to play on the golf team at the U of M, I figured I had to accept it,” Schade said. “And the MMJHL has allowed YH˜