Amanda Alessi remembers meeting a shy 17-year-old from Manitoba before the 2017 U18 Women’s World Championship.
Alessi was a goaltending consultant for the Canadian team, and Corinne Schroeder was a nearly six-foot-tall goalie who could get around her net quickly.
“She was quiet, very reserved,” said Alessi, who was a goalkeeper on Canada’s first-ever U18 team in 2008. “But kind of like a complete potential goalie who was just young and hadn’t had much yet visibility.”
Schroeder didn’t start a game at this tournament, but Hockey Canada staff were excited about his combination of size, mobility and calm presence.
Seven years later, Schroeder, 24, is working his way into conversations for one of three goalie positions on Canada’s senior national team.
She also presents her first arguments as a candidate for the title of best goaltender in the PWHL. In five starts with New York, she posted a 1.79 goals-against average while facing more shots (167) than any goalie in the league except Ann-Renée Desbiens from Montreal.
Between the two, Schroeder has built an impressive resume. During four years at Boston University, she set program records for best goals-against average (1.98) and best save percentage (.929) in 91 career games.
She transferred to Quinnipiac University for her final year of college eligibility and posted six shutouts en route to becoming a finalist for NCAA Women’s Goalie of the Year.
Schroeder hasn’t missed a beat in his transition to the pros with the Boston Pride of the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF). Before the league shut down, Schroeder was named goaltender and rookie of the year.
WATCH l Schroeder shuts out Toronto in PWHL opener:
She also had a remarkable start to her PWHL career, recording a shutout in the league’s inaugural game on Jan. 1, a day she admitted was “pretty stressful.” His New York team beat Toronto 4-0 with more than 2,500 people in the stands and nearly three million more watching from home.
But Schroeder has found a way to cut through the noise and embrace the challenge of the next level, whether it’s going from college to the pros or playing under the bright lights of the first PWHL game.
“We always joke that she’s a brick wall, and I’ve seen people call her that,” said New York teammate Jade Downie-Landry.
“She really is and I think what makes her unique is her focus. She always puts 100 percent into it. She doesn’t do things by halves. She always wants to be the best and keep going to improve.”
During the broadcast that day, cameras showed Schroeder in the stands at the Mattamy Athletic Center before they were filled, viewing the game and the saves she would make. Juggling is also part of his pre-match routine.
“I stuck with what I knew and kept my routine the same, just tried to soak it all in and try to let go of all that pressure,” Schroeder said.
An ice rink in a small town
Schroeder grew up one of five children on the family’s 2,000-acre farm in Elm Creek, a small community of about 400 people about 50 kilometers west of Winnipeg. The family grew grain with Schroeder’s uncle and operated a chicken coop.
Schroeder’s father, Robert, coached her for years and helped her spend more time on the ice on the natural ice surface managed by community volunteers.
“As a coach, constantly being on the ice, knowing how to operate the farm machinery, he was able to do the (ice clearing) and everything else,” Schroeder said.
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It wasn’t until around age 12 that Schroeder began playing in net full time, and a few years later she began spending time in the summer working with a goalie coach . She loved the technical side of the position and the idea that there is always room for improvement.
She modeled her game after Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, her favorite goaltender to watch growing up.
“I feel like he had this perfect balance of technicality and athleticism, and he kind of had this beautiful hybrid style,” she said.
A shutout streak
When Schroeder appeared in the college transfer portal in 2021 after a COVID-shortened season, Quinnipiac coaches knew she would be an important addition to their team. The coaching staff, including head coach Cassandra Turner and assistant coach Alessi, both knew Schroeder from Hockey Canada and decided to reach out to him.
What they got was a mature, thoughtful goalie who wanted to improve.
“She goes about her business as a professional in a very quiet and humble way, but in a way that can kind of carry others along,” Alessi said.
That season, Schroeder led the team to the NCAA quarterfinals. Quinnipiac lost in double overtime to eventual champion Ohio State University. Schroeder made 73 saves in the loss, the sixth most in NCAA history.
Moving on to professional hockey with the Boston Pride, Schroeder had the mentality of taking the game one stop at a time. She found the pace faster than at university, but she loved the challenge.
She made the first save offered to her in her debut with the Pride. And then she also stopped the next 111 pucks that came her way, completing a shutout streak that lasted three games.
Her skating and athleticism set her apart, according to Alessi.
Usually, smaller goalies are better skaters because they need to be in the right place to make saves. But Schroeder has both size and mobility.
“Her post-match game is something she has put a lot of time and effort into, and she is very strong there,” Alessi said.
“I think she reads the game pretty well too. Just her ability to know where the next most dangerous player is and turn that into a controlled save, whereas for a lot of other goalkeepers it’s perhaps as a very great despair, a muddled decision.”
During the first PWHL draft last September, New York general manager Pascal Daoust told reporters that the two goaltenders he drafted, Schroeder and rookie Abbey Levy, were of good size and had quick feet. But he was just as happy to learn that they were great teammates.
Schroeder said she doesn’t see herself and Levy, who started three games for New York, as being in competition against each other. She sees them as a team.
She said they have different ways of focusing before a game, with Schroeder focused on his routine and Levy more likely to play soccer to warm up. But she thinks they complement each other well.
“We’re going to have to work together because no goalie is going to be able to play every game this season without getting injured or something unfortunate like that,” Schroeder said.
An Olympic dream
Schroeder said play in the PWHL has been faster and more physical than in the PHF. But she continues to rise to the challenge, tapping into the potential Alessi saw as a teenager.
“She’s showing the hockey world that she’s legit and she’s here to stay,” Alessi said.
Later this month, Schroeder will face another challenge. For the second time, she was named to the Canadian roster for the Rivalry Series.
Schroeder has never started a game in red and white, but three games scheduled over five days could give him that chance.
It’s the next step in a dream she’s had since she was about four years old: to play for Canada in the Olympics.
“I hope this will be possible in the future,” Schroeder said.