Nate Schnarr, Guelph Storm graduate and New Jersey Devils prospect, joined the Movement as one of the original MM27 Ambassadors in September 2017, prior to the 2017-18 campaign. Motivated by the amount of people who struggle with mental illness, the former Storm forward chose to become an Ambassador to help keep the conversation surrounding mental health going.
In a video filmed at the start of Schnarr’s sophomore season in the OHL, the Waterloo, Ontario native talked about his own struggle with pressure on the ice prior to being selected in the third round (75th overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, paired with the normal stressors of every day life, including maintaining his grades heading into university.
“In my case, it was moving away from home and having a big year in hockey obviously,” Schnarr explained. “I put a lot of pressure on myself in my draft year, but also wanting to focus on school and trying to get into university and keep my marks up – I found that really tough.”
Although, the six-foot-three, 190-pound centre found there were a lot of people willing to listen.
“One thing I learned growing up throughout the game was that reaching out is the best thing for you,” Schnarr offered, listing parents, family members, teachers, and teammates as resources.
“It doesn’t make you any less of an athlete to talk about it and reach out to someone.”
From balancing all that life involves, to skating through obstacles of a major junior career en route to becoming a 102-point player and OHL Champion in 2019, Schnarr has consistently spoken out about the importance of the conversation around mental health.
“[Garrett] asked me if I wanted to be an Ambassador… he’s a great teammate and I look up to him, so I really wanted to support him and obviously with such an important Movement, I wanted to be part of it and try to help him,” Schnarr said in a short documentary about MM27 released in April 2019. “It’s really important – it’s a huge part of today’s society, being able to talk and be open about stuff like this. To be able to be an Ambassador of this Movement… it was a huge honour when Garrett asked me and it meant a lot to me.”
Schnarr has contributed to more than just the conversation, taking an active role in raising funds for mental health resources, including a personal social media campaign that saw the Coyotes prospect personally donate over $400 to the Movement in 2019.
“Nate has been a huge influence on the Movement and through his time in Guelph,” McFadden said of his former teammate. “He’s always brought his smile and enthusiastic attitude towards anything he’s been involved in. He’s a great teammate and friend, while also being an incredible role model for many of our younger ambassadors and MM supporters.”
“On the ice Nate brings an amazing energy and passion, and this shows off the ice too in his involvement and notoriety in the community of Guelph,” McFadden continued.
Always complete with a strong contagious, positive attitude, Schnarr’s passion on the ice has, just the same, filtered to his want to speak out as a MM27 Ambassador.
“Mental health is so important to me because it affects so many people today,” Schnarr said. “I want to open the conversation around mental health and hopefully make a difference in ending the stigma.”