Sunday, 12 April 2015

Proud legacy of Mandi Schwartz continues with her brother Jaden

A Good Friday game featuring the St. Louis Blues served as an outstanding opportunity  for Jaden Schwartz to provide one of the greatest performances of his proud career. The younger brother of the late Mandi Schwartz, a former skater for the Yale Bulldogs who passed away from acute myeloid leukemia, he continues to honor her life.
Of note, Jaden’s second career hat trick proved to be a key factor in the Blues enjoying a 7-5 victory over the rival Dallas Stars. This was made even more special by the fact that he accomplished this on the four-year anniversary of Mandi’s sad passing. Another aspect that enhanced the accomplishment was attributed to Jaden’s jersey featuring his sister’s favorite number; 17.
Through the efforts of Mandi’s teammate at Yale, captain Aleca Hughes, thousands of volunteers signed up to become possible bone marrow donors, in the hopes of saving her life. As a side note, Hughes would capture the 2012 Hockey Humanitarian Award, as well as Yale’s first-ever Mandi Schwartz Award. After graduation, Hughes would become a co-founder of the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, while Yale University’s donor registration still bears Schwartz’s name, having found dozens of life-saving matches.
During the off-season, Jaden had the opportunity to grab the vacant number 17 and finally make it his. When he was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the 2010 edition of the NHL Draft, number 17 had already belonged to Vladimir Sobotka.
Opting for number 9 (of note, number 8 was his jersey number with Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championships), Schwartz had to wait until July 2015 to claim 17 for his own. This was attributed to the fact that Sobotka left North America to sign as a free agent with Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.
As a side note, the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships would be the last time that his older sister Mandi would get the opportunity to see him compete in international play. On April 3, 2011, she would lose her brave and courageous battle with leukemia, leaving behind a group of cherished friends and family.
Still proud to preserve her legacy, Jaden attends various functions in her name, all in the hopes of finding a cure for the disease that took his sister far too early. From a hockey perspective, the chance to don number 17 is a great way to not only inspire him, but keep her heroic memory alive.

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