Each week, a Sun reporter gets to know a local sports figure a little better. Today, hockey writer Ken Wiebe straddles the blue-line with Manitoba Moose defenceman and long-time NHLer Mathieu Schneider.
SUN: You were born in New York City, but where did you grow up?
MS: I lived in New York until I was old enough to go to school and then we moved to southern New Jersey and that's where I spent my grade school years.
SUN: How did you get into hockey?
MS: My mom is from a big French Canadian family of 12 kids and my dad thought that basically they would all be playing hockey and he was a hockey fan himself, so that's pretty much how he got me started.
SUN: What do you remember about the first time you put skates on?
MS: The first time I skated I was three years old and it was at Rockefeller Center. I don't remember a whole lot but I remember being on the ice and seeing the big Christmas tree, that's about it.
SUN: When did hockey become a passion for you?
MS: Fairly young. I played baseball and tennis growing up as well, but hockey for me was always the most exciting sport. Hockey was always my first passion.
SUN: Which hockey team did you grow up rooting for?
MS: I was a Montreal fan growing up. I went to the odd Rangers game and the odd Philly game because we lived halfway between New York and Philly.
SUN: Being a Canadiens fan, what was it like joining their organization after you were drafted in the fourth round in 1987?
MS: It was pretty amazing. For me, Larry Robinson was one of my heroes growing up. Him and Guy Lafleur. Larry was still there and I never got a chance to play with him, but he had a broken leg my first year of camp and that basically gave me my first opportunity there. I was 18 and I stayed up with the team at the beginning of the year.
SUN: It's been 20 years since you've played in the American Hockey League, what do you remember about your games with Sherbrooke back in 1989-90?
MS: I was 20 and the American League was a lot different back then. There were a lot more veterans that were down there. It was a fun time. We had a great team -- Andrew Cassels, Lyle Odelein, Donald Dufresne, Sylvain Lefebvre -- a lot of guys that went on to play in the NHL. A really tough team, too. There were six fights a game back then and a few bench-clearing brawls. I had a great time. I don't think there's anything like the camaraderie in the minors.
SUN: When you won the Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1993, what did you do during your day with the trophy?
MS: I had a house in Vermont and we had a party with all my high school friends and my high school coach came up. We probably had 75-80 people. It wasn't that big, but it was a nice day. Pretty calm and relaxing. Nothing crazy. There's no other trophy like it. There's so much history and tradition. If you look at the trophies in other sports, there's really nothing like it. It just exudes history.
SUN: Have you seen the Cup with your name engraved on it since you won it?
MS: Yeah, it's funny. We were in Italy for the Olympics in 2006 and we just stopped into the hockey house for a Team USA thing and when I was leaving the Cup was just sitting there in the lobby. No one was near it and I thought it couldn't be the real thing, but sure enough it was the Stanley Cup just sitting there. My mother-in-law was with me and my two kids and my wife, we all took pictures with it and they were able to see my name on it. That was pretty neat.