For many Junior A hockey players, the summer months are a time to unwind and relax. After taking part in a very hectic hockey season, which usually involves being on the ice every single day, players use the offseason to reset and prepare themselves for the upcoming season.
Steinbach Pistons forward Bradley Schoonbaert would rather continue playing at a high level of sport than focus his summer months on relaxing, as Bradley plays baseball for the Brandon Marlins of the Manitoba Junior Baseball League as well as the Young Gunz in the Brandon Senior AA Baseball League.
Schoonbaert, who plays second base and shortstop, has always been a multisport athlete. “Since I was 5 years old, I played baseball. Growing up I always liked hockey and baseball the same and I was about equally as good at both, but as I got older hockey obviously became more of a priority.”
It is widely recommended that players playing at high levels of hockey take a break from its hectic schedule, as committing all your time to one sport can be very strenuous and physically draining for players. Because of this, many look to participate in other sports or activities during the hockey offseason. Schoonbaert is no different. “I still always look forward to the ball season when the hockey season is over, and when the ball season is over, I’m excited to get back out onto the ice.”
Schoonbaert also believes that playing baseball has played a major role in helping him during his hockey career. “I think just learning to deal with stressful situations in high-pressure games and also learning how to win”, has been key takeaways for Schoonbaert who’s Marlins team has started the season 4-0, with Bradley posting a .333 batting average with one run batted in and one stolen base this summer. “It doesn’t matter what sport you play, if you know how to win then it will help you in other sports as well. I have won many championships in baseball and try to bring that experience to the ice.”
Schoonbaert, as recently as last year, has won the Senior AA League and Junior AAA Western Canadians championship. He has also won baseball championships at the High school, Midget, Bantam and Peewee levels.
Schoonbaert will hope to continue his winning ways for the upcoming MJHL season, as he will look to help the Pistons capture their second Manitoba Junior Hockey League championship.