FULTON — Fulton native Rob Schremp was featured on Thursday’s edition of Spittin’ Chiclets, a popular hockey podcast.
Schremp discussed his playing career, how he got started with his viral lacrosse-style moves, and his new coaching platform 44 Vision Hockey on the program.
The interview, which has some adult themes and colorful language, lasted roughly an hour with the podcast’s three hosts: former NHL players Paul Bissonnette and Ryan Whitney, along with Barstool blogger Rear Admiral.
“Our next guest is a well-traveled and cultured individual. A 2004 draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers, he helped the London Knights win their first ever Memorial Cup in 2005. He played for three NHL teams in a career that spanned five seasons before heading overseas to play in five different European countries. He officially retired in November 2018, and is currently working with an online coaching platform,” Rear Admiral said to introduce Schremp.
“Of all the people we’ve had on, RA, maybe the dirtiest set of mitts,” Whitney added, referring to Schremp’s stick skills.
Schremp was well known during his playing days for using lacrosse-style moves on the ice, including bringing the puck up on the blade of his stick and waving it in the air during shootout attempts. Although he basically grew up at the rink, playing multiple sports at an early age helped him develop his skills.
“One day when I was like 11, I was like ‘Why not just pick the puck up and play lacrosse with a hockey puck?’” Schremp said. “I started doing it and everyone on the ice was like ‘Holy (expletive)!’ I liked that reaction. I liked to be an entertainer too.”
Schremp said even from a young age it was clear he was likely going to take the junior route instead of college, following in the footsteps of Syracuse-area native Tim Connolly, who played more than a decade in the NHL with the Islanders, Sabres, and Maple Leafs.
“I talked to (former NHL player Matt Murley) today, and he said that on a team to 16- to 20-year-olds — the Syracuse junior Stars or whatever, Crunch — Connolly and himself were the two best players and Rob Schremp — an 11-year-old that practiced with you guys — was the third best player,” Whitney said. “He worded it that you were the best player in the world bar none and said one year you had 300 goals when you were 11?”
“Yeah, I had a good year,” Schremp answered with a laugh.
Schremp played one season in the Ontario Hockey League with Mississauga before being dealt to a powerhouse London team. He posted 90 points in 62 regular season games and added 29 points in 18 postseason contests to win a Memorial Cup with the Knights in 2004-05.
Schremp was drafted in the first round, 25th overall, by the Oilers in the 2004 NHL Entry draft, but was expecting to go much higher.
“I was slotted higher, just the draft didn’t go well,” Schremp said. “My draft year was really tough. I demanded a trade out of Mississauga, which threw flags up. Then I didn’t play in playoffs. A lot of flags. I didn’t do myself any service in my combine meetings. … The expression is ‘perception is reality.’ I wasn’t giving off a great perception, so the draft slipped for me. It was a lot of my own doing.”
Schremp spent most of his first three pro seasons in the minors with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Springfield in the American Hockey League. Schremp moved on to the Islanders organization in 2009-10, and posted 25 points in 44 games. He added 22 points in 45 games the next season before being claimed off waivers by Atlanta.
Schremp appeared in 18 games for the Thrashers in 2011, the team’s final season in Atlanta. The next season they became the Winnipeg Jets and Schremp was off to Europe.
“It was tough,” Schremp said of playing in Atlanta. “Having the experience in London, I had the NHL experience at 17 to 19. Some of the places I came up in at the next stops were not so much. It was tough. It’s hard to get fired up in a 19,000-seat building that would’ve been pretty sick if it was full, but there’s 3,000 or 4,000 people.”
Schremp decided to play overseas in Sweden, Latvia, Austria, and Switzerland. He came back to North America for the 2015-16 season with Portland in the AHL where he had 42 points in 75 games and was a league all-star, but headed back overseas for stints in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria before hanging up the skates.
Schremp is now living in Latvia with his wife, Martha, and their daughter, Stella. He built a team of 30 coaches at 44VisionHockey.com that includes former NHLers, Olympians, and other former professionals to break down video for hockey players.
“I thought this would be a cool way to get back into it,” Schremp said. “I didn’t want to get back into the rat race and climbing the ladder that way. Having a 2-year-old daughter, I want to be around her and I want to be stable … so I decided to build this platform.”
Schremp is hoping his online coaching platform will benefit all players, not just a wealthy few. He discussed various scholarship programs available.
“I came from a small town. My dad was a hard-working factory worker and my mom works her butt off still. … I don’t want it to be an elite or privileged platform,” Schremp said. “I want it to be for everybody. That was important to me.”