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Sophomore forward Troy Schwab wears the 'A' for the Lakers

Troy Schwab

Nov. 10, 2006

By LINDA BOUVET, LSSU Sports Information Director

Sophomore forward Troy Schwab has a simple formula for leading the Lake Superior State hockey team as a scorer and assistant captain.

"As a group, we just need to get better each and every period, and each and every game toward the end of the year," he said. "Last year we just kind of went out there and did what we did. If we got wins, we got wins. Now that we have more experience with winning, the guys in the room know we can win and what kind of team we can be."

Schwab came to LSSU after being named the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's Most-Valuable Player in 2004-05. The Kindersley, Sask., native immediately contributed LSSU last season, totaling eight goals and 16 assists to earn Central Collegiate Hockey Association All-Rookie Team Honorable Mention. His only regret was the Lakers' early exit from the CCHA Playoffs.

"Those are growing pains, and you've got to take the positives out of them and carry them into this year," Schwab said. "We've got to hit full-stride come playoffs and get to the Joe, and then we want to win at the Joe."

The last Laker to wear the "A" as a sophomore was Nathan Ward, who graduated last spring. Schwab's attitude about being an underclassman in such an important role is, in a word, relaxed.

"Leadership is a natural thing," Schwab said. "Every person is a leader in their own way. You should not have to teach yourself or change to become a leader. It's who you are and what you do."

Schwab shares the assistant captain role with senior goaltender Jeff Jakaitis, while senior defenseman Barnabas Birkeland wears the "C.".

"I got wind of it before I went home for the summer," he said of his appointment to assistant captain. "It shocked me. I was just finishing my freshman year, and there were no expectations on me. Being named assistant captain is a great honor, especially with the group of guys we have right now...We've got three guys who wear the letter, but there are seven or eight other guys who are vocal and speak up when something needs to be said."

Schwab is a self-described student of the game.

"I was playing juniors when I was 17-years-old and watching older guys," he said. "I watched what they had to do to succeed on and off the ice. I'm 22 now and still learning from other guys. I'm not a big, 6-foot-tall guy, and I'm not going to overpower anyone. I'm not overly fast. I try to be patient and find the holes."

One of his mentors was former Kindersley teammate and SJHL All-Star Kelly Lang.

"He was a hidden leader on our team," Schwab recalled. "Coach used to room he and I together on the road. It took me a couple years to know why he did that. I think Kelly is a teacher now, but I'm not sure."

Schwab arrived at LSSU with Kindersley Klippers teammate Josh Sim. They have been linemates, off and on, for the past several seasons. Sim missed 10 games last season due to an injury, but Schwab, Sim and freshman Pat Aubry have clicked for four goals and eight assists so far this season.

"Lake State, like Kindersley, has a small, tight atmosphere," said Schwab, who hails from a town of 5,000 residents. "Back home I walk around and know everyone, and everyone knows me. Lake State is kind of the same. You are on a first-name basis with the professors. They know who you are, and you're not just a number to them."

Schwab owes some of his hockey success to his small-town roots.

"I grew up in a town of about 200 people on an old military base. It was a farming community, and my dad was the president of minor hockey. We had a key to the rink. I got to the rink at 9 a.m. and came home for supper."

Schwab is the youngest of four siblings. Both brothers and his mother, Eva, will be in town Nov. 10-11 to celebrate Parents Weekend. Last year, a brother and his sister were able to attend. His father passed away a few years ago.

"I think he'd be proud, and I'm sure he'd love to watch me play," Schwab said of his father. If he was around, there would still be little chirps -- him telling me what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong. My mom is a big supporter of me now, and she's always there if I need anything. I go back and stay with her in the summer. It's she and I."

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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