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A day with Schneider

Wednesday, 25.07.2012 / 3:14 PM / Features
By Derek Jory
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A day with Schneider

Joey, Jory & Rory’s Excellent Adventure continued Monday with a trip to Boston for the second of four hometown player visits.

On Tuesday Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider gave Canucks.com and CanucksTV an all-access pass to his life, both past and present, and we made the most of it discovering a Cory Schneider you won’t believe.

Here’s a timeline of our visit. Again, it’s a long read, but you’re probably reading it on work time anyways.

5:10 a.m.Quack, quack, quack.

5:15Quack, quack, quack.

5:20Quackslam. Remind me never to set my iPhone alarm to duck ever again. The early bird doesn’t get the worm in this case, the early birds (Joey, Rory and myself) get to meet Cory Schneider at Boston College bright and early to begin our interviews and film him during a workout that would kill a lesser man.

5:45 – “I’m sorry sir, we don’t open until 6 a.m.” says the lady at the coffee shop.

5:45 – Derek: “%&*#” Joey: “@$#&” Rory: “*#&$& +$# @#&^+%$#!”

6:00 – We arrive at Boston College thanks to our phone GPS and some stellar directions from Schneider, who rolls up right after us in a black Audi A7 3.0 Quattro supercharged stallion of a car (it’s the same model Dan Hamhuis drives). He’s casually sporting a black Boston Red Sox hat, RVCA t-shirt, plaid shorts and flip-flops, while clutching a blue titanium water bottle.

6:02 – “Welcome boys! I’m excited for this,” Schneider says enthusiastically. “My workout doesn’t start until 6:30, so I’ve got some time to show you around.”

6:07 – Goodbye enthusiasm. As we walk into the North Entrance of the Silvio O. Conte Forum, right past an Every Day Is Game Day Under Armour banner, Schneider points to a large photo of the Boston College men’s hockey team with their sticks in their air in celebration in front of an NCAA championship trophy. “That would have been my senior year, but I left early,” says Schneider. “That’s what I walk past every morning; no regrets.”

6:08Schneider tours us around Boston College before this workout

6:19 – The tour leads us to where the ice should be, but instead a basketball court stands. Schneider grabs a ball and takes a few shots and goes 0-for-3 on free throws and 3-for-7 on jump shots. Ray Allen’s replacement?

6:19 – Joey grabs a ball and shoots from long range. Air ball. “That ball is flat,” he grumbles.

6:36 – “Let’s do this,” says Schneider, now in workout gear, walking into the weight room. Times Like These, by Foo Fighters, is blaring over the stereo. It's times like these you learn to live again It's times like these you give and give again It's times like these you learn to love again It's times like these time and time again.

6:38 – Weigh in. He’s 203-pounds and “that’s fully clothed,” he points out. He’s aiming to be 195 for the season. “No problem.”

6:40 – Schneider begins his workout with squats, lots and lots and lots of squats, as he flips large coloured weight plates on and off each end of the bar with ease. After the season Schneider took May off before he began training at the beginning of June. This is his eighth week of training, which includes a mixture of Canucks and Boston College workout plans. He does an hour of lifting and strength work, with lots of Olympic lifting, and cardio sprinkled on top at the end.

6:45 – We leave Schneider in peace to do his workout. Dunkin' Donuts, here we come! We arrive and the vegetarian in the crowd, moi, is flustered when the lady at the counter says they are out of everything vegetarian. Boston 1 Derek 0

8:13 – We rejoin Schneider at Boston College. His red face, red towel and red hair all blend. It was a good workout.

8:16 – As Schneider showers, Joey and I hit the basketball court to play 21. It’s not much of a matchup. I take the first game 21-0 before winning the second 21-2. My confidence is high. “You better hope security doesn’t come arrest you for throwing bricks in here Joey,” I snicker.

8:26 – Schneider emerges from the locker room dressed the same as before except his Red Sox hat is backwards. He’s ready to ball. Noticing I’m pounding my chest like King Kong after my win, he challenges me to a game of PIG, a shorter version of HORSE.

8:33 – Appropriately enough there is a basketball camp on the court beginning at 9 a.m. It’s fitting because Schneider schools me 3-0. “I took on the best Canada had to offer, I must have gotten lucky,” Schneider laughs.

8:34 – I am hauled off to jail and placed in a cell with Joey. Hopefully the penalty for throwing bricks isn’t harsh in Massachusetts.

9:05 – Schneider informs us he has some errands to run and he’ll meet us outside our hotel at 12 p.m. I write the beginning of this story, Joey and Rory take care of some video work, all while you were sleeping. For shame.

11:50 – The Audi A7 is spotted and Schneider isn’t alone. His girlfriend Jill is with him and she’ll be joining us for the day. Rory rides shotgun to film, Jill and I take to the backseat. “Cory, you didn’t say anything about riding in the back with this Canadian weirdo,” Jill probably thinks to herself.

11:58 – We’re on the road headed for Swampscott, where Schneider’s parents live, and his former hometown of Marblehead. We drive past the TD Garden, which he passes on a regular basis. “After the Final I went to Vegas for the awards, then to the Bahamas, then I was back here. It was okay, I had to be a good sport about a lot of things. It was frustrating seeing all the banners and hats and t-shirts all the time.”

12:05 p.m. – The nitty gritty. Schneider’s mom, Sue, is English, her mom is French. Rich, his dad, has French, Swiss and German backgrounds in his family. Cory speaks English, French and Bostonian. He cannot speak Korean and does not know how to ballroom dance, as a hardcore Canucks fan wanted to know, but he's willing to learn both.

12:06The one about…swallowing a penny

12:08The one about…being a Boston sports fan

12:11 – Twitter Q&A. Evgeni Malkin is the player Schneider would least like to face in a shootout, he’d have dinner with Steve Jobs if he could break bread with anyone, dead or alive, he prefers 'N Sync to the Backstreet Boys, a good pepperjack, nothing stinky, is how he rolls when it comes to cheese, the Audi we’re driving in is what he bought after the signed his new contract with the Canucks and the red Power Ranger is his favourite superhero – if he counts.

12:27 – We arrive at Schneider’s parents’ house. The screen door is locked. Classic. The ocean front three-level home is spacious and spotless and Schneider is met with a hug from Sue as soon as he walks in. A quick interview on the balcony and it’s up to Schneider’s room where jerseys hang on the wall and game pucks and game sheets stand on mantels and dressers, but his mom points to the All-American certificate on the wall, with pride, as her favourite piece of memorabilia.

12:46Childhood photos here, there and everywhere. Have a look at Schneider’s Wonder Years.

1:13 – We’re back in the car headed for Marblehead. Jill and I make small talk, she seems a little less creeped out. And then I see it. She’d had her iPhone out for a while and now I know why: she’s following along with the @VanCanucks Twitter coverage of the day. The heat is on.

1:20 – Some athletes are like automatic airport bathroom faucets that give you a little water when you need a lot. My hands are still covered in soap, come on. Schneider is the opposite. He’s an unkinked hose of knowledge and humour, spilling facts like a paid tour guide as we wind through the narrow streets of Marblehead. It’s refreshing.

1:25 – A quick stop at the youth baseball diamond where Schneider cut his teeth. He misses the sport. He played for 13 years from five-years-old until 18 and he was good. “I played more baseball than hockey up until I was about 12,” he says. “I remember the jerseys were cool when I was young because whatever team you were on you got a different jersey and hat, so my brother had had that jersey and hat I got before, and I remember that was like the biggest deal in the world that I had it.” Schneider was a catcher: “I just like having helmets and gear on, I guess.”

1:33 – “I need my Dunks!” Schneider proclaims pulling into a large parking lot. He’s a self-proclaimed Dunkin' Donuts addict, or, in other words, a snob towards other coffees. He’ll drink what he can get in Vancouver, but his mom sends him packets of Dunkin' Donuts coffee during the season. Today he gets a large vanilla ice, with milk and sugar. “It’s double brewed,” he says, taking a swig.

1:40 – Lunch time. We cross the street to Village Roast Beef & Seafood, a restaurant Schneider has been frequenting since he could walk. He orders the large beef three-way with pickles, as do Jill, Joey and Rory. Vegetarian cold sub for me. Boston 1 Derek 1

2:04 – On the road again. Jill is starting to warm up to our invading presence. She shows me pictures of their pets: Bella, an exotic husky shetland sheepdog, and George Michael (named after the Arrested Development character, not the singer), a cute kitty always dressed to impress in a fur tuxedo. Dogs aren’t allowed in their condo in Vancouver, so during the season Bella lives with her parents outside Boston.

2:07 – Schneider is in his glory showing off Marblehead, the yachting capital of the United States. He takes us to two yacht clubs to prove it. Cory loves the water. His parents sailed competitively when he was young and he has his boating license and was just out a few weeks ago making waves.

2:10 – “See that huge house there on the left?” asks Schneider, pointing out the window. “That’s where they shot the movie Grown Ups. I guess it looks Malibu enough to pass for LA. They are actually filming Grown Ups 2 here right now, so Adam Sandler and all the guys have been around quite a bit.” This leads to an awkward silence that I break by asking if anyone other than me thought Grown Ups was possibly the worst movie ever made. Cory, Jill and Rory all agree. I correct myself and say Jack and Jill, Sandler’s latest comedy in which he plays a brother and sister characters, is probably worse, but I haven’t seen it. Jill blushes. “We watched it last night,” she laughs. They were channel flipping and got sucked in. It happens to us all.

2:43 – La piece de resistance, Schneider’s childhood home, looks like a hotel and that’s actually what his friends used to call it. He takes us immediately to the pavement slab leading up to the garage. “This is where we’d spend hours and hours playing street hockey.”

2:44Schneider explains the street hockey boundaries

2:50 – The family that now lives in the home, husband, wife and young son, return home to find us filming in their front yard. Confusion reigns until they realize it’s Cory. “Anything you need Cory,” says both the man and woman, “You’re welcome anytime.” This leads Schneider, somehow, to a story about rollerblading in front of the house when he was young and how he flew down the steep driveway and tumbled over a tree in a crash worthy of viral YouTube love. He broke his wrist. It healed just fine.

3:11 – Schneider has ice time at 4:30 p.m., so we pile back into the car. It’s about a 30-minute drive, a wild one, he explains, so Rory rides with Joey to help him navigate. Jill moves into the front seat and I spread out in the back. All of the sudden the overwhelming sunshine is nowhere to be found.

3:12 – A crack of thunder like I haven’t heard in years sounds from the sky. “Don’t worry,” Schneider says turning to Jill, doing the voice of TED, “it’s just Gahd’s fahts.”

3:13 – It starts to rain, then really rain, then hail. “Is that hail? Not the new car!” He’s not concerned concered, just concerned. The thunder continues to roll, enough to make Garth Brooks proud. “Good thing I’ve got my thundah buddy,” Schneider says, smiling at Jill.

3:15 – The story of Cory and Jill emerges. She was a real estate agent trying to sell him a home. He sold himself instead. He didn’t buy the house, he bought a house, just not from her. Ouch. “What, I’ve got to buy a house to go on a date now?” These two are great together. Both very warm and mellow. They’re perfect thunder buddies.

3:18The one about…his two front teeth

3:20 – News breaks that the Nashville Predators have matched the offer sheet put forth to defenceman Shea Weber by the Philadelphia Flyers. Schneider nods in approval. “His shot is a rocket,” he says. “He scored on me once, on the other one I’m not sure how I stopped it.”

3:30 – Twitter Q&A Part II. It’s boring, he knows, but Schneider only has eyes for chocolate ice cream. His favourite hobby is fantasy baseball and he plays in a league with Canucks teammates and was just knocked out of top spot into second place. He reveals his love for George Michael (his cat named after the Arrested Development character, not the singer). Chopped, a Food Network show, is a love of his right now, as is HBO’s incredible series Game of Thrones. He’s nearly finished with Season 2, just two episode to go. Game of Thrones fans, like myself, know the final two episodes of Season 2 are two of the best ever. The couple smiles at each other wildly in anticipation.

3:42 – George Michael (his cat still named after the Arrested Development character, not the singer) comes into play again with Jill urging Cory to do "the voice." It seems Schneider has created voices for both his pets and George Michael’s is a mixture of Harry Caray and Christopher Walken. Jill shows me a video on her phone. I am in tears laughing. The cat doesn’t do much, jump around their bedroom a bit, but the voiceover is priceless. Cory offers up a little more when Jill and I can’t stop laughing. “Cat food again? What did I do to deserve this? Do you know how much iron is in there? I know. I checked.”

4:00 – “Oh, I meant to ask you something Derek,” says Schneider. “My cousin was supposed to be at the midnight showing of Batman in Colorado, he gave his ticket to a co-worker and she was badly injured in the shooting. I’m supporting my cousin in trying to raise funds for the victims, can you help spread the word?” It would be my utmost please.

4:01Full story of the Hope Rises Relief Fund for victims of the Dark Knight shooting

4:14 – Schneider walks into the rink and is met with a special delivery, his new mask. He laughs, “my dad calls a mask a hat. ‘Hey Cory, did you take that puck in the hat?’ It’s hilarious. He calls the Canucks the Nooks too. It really drives my brother crazy.”

4:14The one about…the new mask

4:30 – Schneider hits the ice for an hour and a half. He works on everything under the sun with an array of other goalies, male and female, around 16-years-old and up. He’s practicing like it’s playoff time.

4:31 – It’s cold in the rink. Jill has changed from a dress into a beige sweater and green skinny jeans. Clever girl. She offers up a pair of skinny jeans, she brought two because you can never be too safe. I decline, like an idiot.

5:54 – Before taking off his gear or even catching his breath, Schneider is rinkside visiting a group of enthusiastic future NHLers. He offers up advice and answers questions for 15 minutes before trading skates for flip flops.

6:00 – En route to the final stop of the day, Schneider’s condo. Upon arrival, Joey and Rory film one final interview on the balcony off the master bedroom, while I come up with a plan. It’s not fair that you, yes you reading this (thank you for reading to the bottom!), didn’t get to hear Schneider’s George Michael voice. We remedy this with one of the funniest videos CanucksTV has ever shot. You can’t wait to see it, trust me.

6:15 – Impression after impression after impression after impression after impression. Schneider has us all howling. You will be too. This counts as a point for Boston Schneider is so golden. Boston 2 Derek 1

6:20 – “This was great guys, thanks very much, hopefully today wasn’t too boring,” Schneider says as we prepare to leave. This was easily one of my favourite days on the job ever, I think to myself. “Just one more thing, would you guys be able to help me move this armoire upstairs?” The large black armoire, which arrived earlier that day, is as heavy as its six drawers are spacious. Joey takes charge, Cory grabs the bottom, Rory offers a hand and I soak in the moment. Hilarious.

6:30 – We finally part ways with Schneider, nearly 13 hours after we first met up with him. What a long, draining, thrilling, eventful, awesome day. Now to get to work putting together all the stories, videos and photos that will change how you see Cory Schneider.

6:35 – I can’t confirm this, but it’s safe to assume Cory and Jill had the final episodes of Game of Thrones playing before we even left the parking lot. They now know that winter is no longer coming, it’s here.