Schartz re-signs with ECHL's Norfolk Admirals for 2018-19
July 13, 2018 | Norfolk, Va.
Former Liberty University ACHA Division I men's hockey defenseman Zane Schartz received a contract extension to spend the 2018-19 season with the Norfolk (Va.) Admirals, the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes. Schartz previously signed an amateur tryout agreement (ATO) to join the team for the final 10 games of the 2017-18 season.
"I wasn't too stressed, but it is kind of a relief off your shoulders from the uncertainty of where you're going to land next year," said Schartz, who is working toward his Business Marketing degree through Liberty's online programs with plans to graduate next spring.
Schartz spent the first half of his summer doing an internship with a real estate company in Dallas, near his hometown of Plano, Texas, and is currently training in Michigan, skating five-six times per week and working out every day in preparation for the upcoming season.
"I'm hoping the work I put in this summer, working on my all-around strengths, puts me in a situation where I'll be able to come in and produce from Day 1," Schartz said.
Schartz is only the fourth player signed by the Admirals to date, as they have changed NHL affiliations from the Nashville Predators. The team will open its 2018-19 season Oct. 13 against the Wheeling (W.Va.) Nailers at the 10,000-seat Norfolk Scope Arena.
He is excited to be back in Norfolk, where the staff led by former NHL Head Coach Robbie Ftorek remains intact. Ftorek compiled a 229-157-13 record in six seasons with the Los Angeles Kings (1987-89), New Jersey Devils (1998-2000), and Boston Bruins (2001-03).
"I was the first player from the ACHA to make the jump straight to the ECHL, which is the baseball equivalent of Class AA, two steps away from the NHL," Schartz said. He plans to return to Liberty to train with his former Flames teammates the week before the Admirals' season opener. "My goal is to start at Norfolk and work my way up to the AHL because if I'm not trying to push upwards, I'm selling myself and my team short. I'm shooting for the NHL because if you shoot for the stars and you fall on the moon, that's good enough. If God leads me to the AHL, I'm ready. I'm going to give it my all and glorify God in my efforts, to be a good example for the ACHA and Liberty."
After scoring 48 goals and distributing 81 assists in 99 games with the Flames over the past three seasons, he expects to play a similar role with the Admirals, as an offensive-minded defenseman who helps anchor the power play unit. But as determined as he is to make an impact on the ice, Schartz is more focused on being a positive spiritual influence in the Admirals organization and the City of Norfolk.
"There might be a bunch of new faces, but I am excited to go back there and be a light to my teammates and my community," Schartz said. "Being at Liberty, on a team made up of Christians, has prepared me to go out and be a missionary to the hockey world. I'm praying for opportunities to reach out and share the Gospel on a team of unbelievers. If I don't play a single minute, I'm fine as long as I make an impact on my teammates."