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31 Jan

Fiddler-Schultz Showing His Character On and Off the Ice

Over the Christmas break the Northern Alberta Xtreme hockey players and staff had some time away from the rink to spend celebrating with family and friends, or in the case of Riley Fiddler-Schultz, the less fortunate.

Like he had done so many times before, Fiddler-Schultz, the nephew of former NHLer Vernon Fiddler, joined his family in a fundraiser for the less fortunate, this time for the Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank and Christmas Hampers 2017.

“My parents and I have always donated somehow at Christmas time and throughout the year. This year we parked my Dads Ford in front of the Co-op Food Store in Fort Saskatchewan on a Saturday before Christmas. It feels good to help people. It was lots of fun,” said Fiddler-Schultz.

Despite being just 15 years old Fiddler-Schultz has done his fair share of volunteer work, having donated and delivered for Santa's Anonymous, The Food Bank, sponsoring families, and helping with charity golf tournaments.

Along with his volunteer work, Fiddler-Schultz has found another way to give back to his community, winning provincials in the 2016/17 Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League (AMBHL) last season as a member of the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers.

“I enjoyed every minute of last season. From the coaches and trainer to my teammates, I loved coming to the rink every day. Winning the AMBHL championship and proceeding to play Westerns in Saskatchewan was a great experience.”

Winning a championship wasn’t the only highlight of the season for Fiddler-Schultz as he had the privilege to be selected by the Calgary Hitmen in the seventh round of the 2017 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

“I was really excited to see my name called in the draft by the Hitmen and I’m going to continue to work my hardest every day and see where hockey takes me.”

After his successful campaign in which he tallied 40 points in 36 games played with the Rangers, Fiddler-Schultz and some of his Rangers teammates were recruited to NAX to join their Elite 15s team.

NAX is a Devon based hockey academy competing in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL). Formed in 2013 by Jason Stewart, NAX combines academics and athletics, allowing student-athletes to attend both classes and hockey during regular school hours.

“Riley is an honest, hardworking young man both on and off the ice,” said coach Garret Meger. “He’s a guy who doesn’t care who gets the credit as long as the team is successful. Off the ice, he’s a guy who is always looking to lend a hand, either helping around the rink or in his volunteering initiatives.”

In his first year with the team, which has a record of 26-0 in regular season play, Fiddler-Schultz has 19 goals and 19 assists for 38 points in just 26 games played.

“I chose to come to the NAX program because I thought it would be best for my development to help me achieve my goals for hockey in the upcoming years. I really enjoy all the extra ice time that I get and all the different skills coaches that are out with us during the week to help us in all aspects of our game. I also like the way the program balances academics with athletics to ensure that nobody is falling behind when we are away on road trips."

While in his first year with a new hockey program, his volunteer traditions remain unchanged. And his teammates, old and past, have begun to take notice of the work he does.

“He’s a great teammate and easy to approach if you have something to say. He is a respectful guy and always looks out for you. He’s also a great guy on the ice. He’s very humble and a great player” added teammate Raphael Pelletier.

“I was floored by the support for this cause,” said Fiddler-Schultz. I had coaches, teammates and parents from this year and last show up with tons of stuff. With the support of my family, friends and this awesome town we filled the back of my dad’s truck twice.”

This support has given Fiddler-Schultz the passion to continue his fundraiser campaigns, despite the possibilities of moving away from home as early as next season to pursue his hockey career.

“Wherever my hockey may take me I hope to organize this again for next Christmas and years to come.”