Although he hasn’t played any games since March, Braden Schneider and his family have had quite a bit to cheer about over the past two months.
In October, Schneider was selected 19th overall by the New York Rangers, and just over a week ago the defenseman was named to Team Canada’s World Junior roster.
The moment was especially memorable for the Prince Albert, Sask., native and his teammates who were made aware of the achievement via video calls from friends and family members.
“When I read the email, I’m not going to lie, I teared up and pretty much cried the whole way to the house,” his mother Carmela said. “(I’m) just excited and I tried to have my composure for when we told him so I didn’t give it away.”
“What do we say to him, how do we say it? That’s what was going through my mind,” father Kelly added. “I just said the first thing that came to mind, you ain’t coming home for Christmas.”
Although Braden was wearing a mask at the time, both of his parents could tell how excited their son was.
“He came to the door wearing his mask, so we couldn’t see the smile,” Carmela explained. “But he had happy eyes, so you could definitely see it in his eyes. It was pretty cool.”
Despite not being able to celebrate the tournament with Braden, the Schneiders have made sure to show their pride in another way. They’ve decked the exterior of their house in red and white lights to go with their large Hockey Canada flag.
“It’s kind of become an annual joke, actually, every year with our family,” Carmela chuckled. “Putting up the Christmas lights, Kelly hates doing it, and I make him do it. Over the last couple of years we’ve posted him putting the lights up on Facebook, you can always see the ‘joy’ on Kelly’s face.”
“Christmas lights will probably be easier to put up now,” Kelly admitted while laughing. “It was something that we’d both agreed on. I’m not a Christmas light guy, and this is a big moment in our life, and it’s the only way we can kind of really celebrate because he’s not here.”
Although they’ll be loud cheering coming from the Schneider residence during all of Braden and Team Canada’s games, his family is equally as excited to celebrate with him at the end of the tournament, hopefully with a gold medal too.
“We’ll still be able to make it special,” Carmela said. “We’ll still be able to enjoy him when he gets home, and try to celebrate then.”