Cory Schneider is now putting his dual US-Swiss citizenship to good use – in a way that will improve his career as he continues to prepare to take over the number one goaltending job for the Vancouver Canucks. The third Canuck to sign in Europe, Schneider joined HC Ambri-Piotta of Switzerland in late November, signing a deal that runs through to December 31 with an option to renew the contract if the NHL lockout does in fact continue in 2013.
The team Schneider is now playing with is the polar opposite of the Canucks. Sponsors stepped up to help cover the cost of Schneider’s contract and the team plays in a 2500 seat arena. To top it all off, Ambri-Piotta, also known as Bianco-Blu, is placed 11th out of 12 teams in the league. Before he arrived, they had won seven of their first 25 games. However, Schneider has put these facts aside as he focuses on simply playing hockey.
“I think it’s more important for my career going forward to stay sharp and stay prepared and get games in because 18 months without game action is not a good thing for a goalie, or for anybody for that matter,” Schneider told the Vancouver Sun.
Having been anxious to play, Schneider has taken over from goaltender Nolan Schaefer, the younger brother of ex-Canuck Peter Schaefer, and he has played four games so far, two of which resulted in wins. He already has better statistics than both of the other Ambri-Piotta goalies, with a 0.947 save percentage and a 2.25 goals against average. His opening game has been one of his best, as he stopped 40 out of 43 shots in a 4-3 win against Jason Spezza’s lockout team, the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers.
Ambri has been interested in Schneider ever since the lockout was announced and have finally claimed him. His presence on the team will probably help them rise out of 11th place and get some more wins; Schneider already possesses two of their nine.