Schaber stepping up

When the challenge was issued to Chase Schaber this fall, he eagerly accepted. Entering his third Western Hockey League season, the Red Deer native was asked to fill a bigger role with the Calgary Hitmen.

Red Deer product Chase Schaber has become a go-to-guy for the Calgary Hitmen in his third year with the club

Red Deer product Chase Schaber has become a go-to-guy for the Calgary Hitmen in his third year with the club

When the challenge was issued to Chase Schaber this fall, he eagerly accepted.

Entering his third Western Hockey League season, the Red Deer native was asked to fill a bigger role with the Calgary Hitmen.

So far, so good.

After putting up 20 points (8g,12a) in 53 games during the 2008-09 campaign, Schaber is off to a comparatively torrid start this season with 12 points — including five goals — in 13 outings.

“With this team, we’ve had a lot of depth every year. This is such a great organization, a great team all around,” said the 18-year-old, Calgary’s first-round bantam draft pick in 2006. “We’ve had some great players over the last two years and you have to pay your dues. When it’s time to step up you have to take that responsibility. I feel I’ve done that. I told myself I can do that and I’m succeeding so far and hopefully it will continue.”

Hitmen first-year head coach Mike Williamson said Schaber has become a valuable member of the team with the manner in which he has accepted the challenge of being a go-to guy.

“There’s a lot of guys on this team who, even though they have a lot of games under their belts, didn’t play big roles here last year,” said Williamson.

“Guys like Chase Schaber and Tyler Fiddler are stepping up and having to play bigger roles, and we’re really happy with the way Chase has come along.

“He’s a great leader too, a guy who could definitely wear a letter for us. We’re really happy with his game, but he can’t get complacent and happy. He has to keep pushing and making sure he’s getting better.”

Schaber is full cognizant of the fact he can’t afford to be satisfied with his ongoing performance. He’s always looking for ways to improve and he’s a good student of the sport.

“I’m just trying to get better every day,” said the six-foot, 194-pound centre.

“I make a mistake every once in a while, but every day is a learning experience and that’s what I love about the game ­ — there’s always a bright side, there’s always a second chance. You can always redeem yourself.”

Speaking of redemption, Schaber was passed over in the 2009 NHL entry draft, but will force the pro scouts to sit up and take notice with a continued strong showing this season.

“I had injuries last year that kind of brought me down. I was in and out of the lineup, and that takes its toll mentally,” he said. “Hopefully I can be drafted next year.”

Schaber, as Williamson pointed out, is having success offensively because he’s continually involved in the play.

“The thing with Chase is he’ll get an opportunity to get points if he keeps the grit in his game,” said the Hitmen bench boss. “If he’s finishing checks, winning draws and getting to the net, he’ll have an opportunity to not only gets lots of ice time, but get those points. That’s the biggest thing with him — when he’s playing that way he’s going to get rewarded.”

Personal success aside, Schaber has enjoyed being a part of a Hitmen team that has excelled in each of his previous two seasons and is continuing along that same path to this point in the 2009-10 campaign.

“It’s amazing to play with so many great guys, guys who will work hard, guys who want to get to the NHL and will do anything to get there,” he said.

“There’s just a great feeling with this team, as in the past, a great atmosphere in the dressing room.”

On paper, at least, the current edition of the Hitmen is not as strong as the team that captured the WHL regular-season championship last year and fell to the Kelowna Rockets in a six-game league final.

Just don’t tell that players that.

“We’ve just put it into place that we have to try and follow in the footsteps of last year’s team, try and fill those leadership roles and just build on what (the graduating players) left us,” said Schaber. “We want to keep making positive strides and get to where we were last year.”

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Jason Kenney struck back at unruly protesters who chanted ‘lock her up’ in relation to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Monday. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Alberta Premier calls for ‘unhinged conspiracy theorists’ to stop threatening the chief medical officer

Spreading misinformation, making threats is ‘beyond the pale,’ said Kenney

An internal investigation by AHS revealed 3,224 patients had their electronic health records accessed improperly by two clerical employees in the diagnostic imaging department at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Employees access 3K patients’ records in privacy breach at Red Deer hospital

3,224 patients had their electronic health records accessed improperly

(Black Press file photo).
Red Deer Boxing Club is moving to north industrial site

The property was rezoned to accommodate recreational uses

An Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Air Canada agrees to $5.9-billion aid package, giving Ottawa equity stake in airline

$1.4 billion earmarked to help reimburse thousands of customers

Innisfail RCMP say Brandon Pitts is missing. (Photo contributed)
Missing central Alberta man

Innisfail RCMP request public’s help

Hindu devotees wearing face masks as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus stand in a queue to offer prayers inside a temple dedicated to goddess Kali in Jammu, India, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. New infections have surged in the past month and India has now reported over 13.6 million cases — pushing its toll past Brazil, and making it second only to the United States. In the past 24 hours, over 160,000 new infections have been detected and experts fear that the worst is yet to come. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Johnson & Johnson delays shot rollout in Europe

BERLIN — Johnson & Johnson says it is delaying the rollout of… Continue reading

Restaurant workers and restaurant delivery workers wait in line to sign up for Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccine site, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in the Sunset Park neighborhood of New York. The mobile vaccination effort includes two buses equipped with four to six vaccinators each, delivering the COVID-19 vaccine directly to communities most in need. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose… Continue reading

FILE-Team Canada’s Meaghan Mikkelson fights for control of the puck with U.S.A.’s Hayley Scamurra during third period of Women’s Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s national teams, hopes a Rivalry Series against the United States can happen this winter.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer
Canadian women’s hockey team to open selection camp in Nova Scotia

Six goaltenders, 15 defenders and 26 forwards will vie for spots on Canada’s 23-player roster

FILE - Rhian Wilkinson, left, and Melissa Tancredi of Canada’s women’s soccer team attend a news conference in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 to announce their retirement from the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Former Canadian international Rhian Wilkinson now part of England coaching setup

Wilkinson left Canada Soccer in January to join interim England head coach Hege Riise as an assistant

Canadian actor/producer/director Jay Baruchel is photographed at the 5 Drive-In Theatre in Oakville, Ont., ahead of the premier of Baruchel’s movie Random Acts of Violence, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Jay Baruchel to host Amazon Prime Video’s ‘LOL: Last One Laughing Canada’

Final comedian left standing wins a grand prize for a charity of their choice

Letters
Letter: Leaders like MLA Jason Stephan should work towards greater good

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan talks about the devastating social and… Continue reading

Opinion
Opinion: Women, hit hardest by pandemic, key to economic recovery

Events of the past year have laid bare the many disparities and… Continue reading

Most Read