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Perhaps no Wolves player will be more emotional than Cole Schneider when the Wolves face the Milwaukee Admirals in the 2023-24 season opener on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
The 33-year-old forward has had two stints with Milwaukee in his American Hockey League career, including the previous two seasons during which he was captain of the Admirals.
“There will be a little bit of feelings at the beginning,” Schneider said. “It was home for a while but this is home now. The Wolves are the group I’m rolling with.”
The Williamsville, N.Y., native played in six NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres from 2015-17 but has spent the bulk of his career lighting it up in the AHL with Binghamton, Rochester, Hartford, Texas and Milwaukee.
While Schneider’s 234 goals–including 39 game-winners–and 316 assists for 550 points in 720 career games is impressive, equally as important is the leadership he has displayed. In addition to wearing the “C” on his sweater in Milwaukee, he has also been captain with the Wolf Pack and Stars.
The Wolves have not yet named a captain for the ’23-24 season, but Schneider will provide leadership whether he’s donning a letter or not.
“I’ll bring some leadership either way,” Schneider said. “It’s about helping younger guys get to where they want to be.”
Despite his ties to Milwaukee, Schneider called joining the Wolves “a fun opportunity and a chance to win. A few of my buddies had already signed here and it’s a good city so it was an easy decision.”
While emotions may run a little high facing the Admirals, Schneider said he’s looking forward to being part of the Wolves end of the rivalry between the Central Division opponents.
Another 33-year-old veteran has ties to Milwaukee and the Admirals but is thrilled to have joined the Wolves.
Defenseman Matt Donovan signed with Chicago over the summer after spending last season in with Adler Mannheim Germany. Prior to that, Donovan spent three seasons with the Admirals during which he had 24 goals and 83 assists in 202 games.
“I live in Milwaukee so I wanted to stay close to home,” Donovan said “I was in Germany last year and we just had a baby so I wanted to keep my other kids in school and stay here and not take a newborn overseas. This came up and was good for the family so luckily it worked out.”
It figures to work out for the Wolves having Donovan, a veteran of 69 career NHL games with the New York Islanders and Nashville Predators, moving the puck on the back end. In addition to two goals and 18 assists in the NHL, Donovan has piled up 64 goals and 193 assists in 455 AHL contests.
Donovan said his main focus at this stage of his career is helping younger players (“Things are different from when I was younger–the guys seemed really old and now I don’t know if I seem really old to these guys”) as well as winning a championship.
“If you haven’t won in this league or any other league, your goal is to win,” Donovan said.
His goal off the ice is to keep up with his children.
“I have three boys–7, 4 and almost three months–so I’m always chasing them,” Donovan said with a laugh. “It’s crazy at my house.”
MEET THE 2023-24 CHICAGO WOLVES
And now, the latest edition of Meet the 2023-24 Wolves, starring forward Dominic Franco: pic.twitter.com/ZRfwRxOdLw
— Chicago Wolves (@Chicago_Wolves) October 5, 2023
Meet the 2023-24 Wolves, defenseman Mitch Vande Sompel edition. pic.twitter.com/86CQ3zUv48
— Chicago Wolves (@Chicago_Wolves) October 6, 2023
UPCOMING KEY DATES
2023-24 regular-season opener vs. Milwaukee at Allstate Arena, 7 p.m.
- 30th Season Poster Giveaway, presented by Jewel-Osco
- Adopt-A-Dog Night
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 18
Wolves vs. Texas at Allstate Arena, 11 a.m.
- School Day Game
SATURDAY, OCT. 28
Wolves vs. Cleveland at Allstate Arena, 7 p.m.
- Howl-O-Ween Night
SATURDAY, nov. 11
Wolves vs. Iowa at Allstate Arena, 7 p.m.
- WWE Night
- Josh Melnick WWE Bobblehead Giveaway, presented by CDE Collision Centers
2023-24 WOLVES TICKETS
For information on Wolves ticket plans for the 2023-24 season—everything from single-game tickets to Flex Packs to group outings—visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.