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Schartz takes the ice as man of faith

Friday, February 21st
Schartz takes the ice as man of faith

Zane Schartz may be one of the latest additions to the roster of the Orlando Solar Bears, but he is first and foremost a man of God.

The 25-year-old defenseman, who comes from a Christian family, is one of a handful of players on the team who have a strong connection to their faith. As the second-year pro – whose new team hosts its Faith + Family Night this Sunday against the Norfolk Admirals – points out, however, he is not defined by his hockey-playing career.

“Having my identity rooted in my faith is the most important thing – not where I’m at, who I’m playing for – that will change,” Schartz said. “It’s all about what I believe, and Whose I am; I’m a child of God, and that’s the important thing to me.”

Having a strong family foundation was important to establishing the foundation for his love of Christ.

“My parents are both strong believers, which has been super important growing up. I think it makes things a lot easier for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to have both of them pushing me in that direction and helping me grow as opposed to pulling me away from it.”

That direction has been one of celebrating a message of love and understanding.

“As a man of faith, I just try and follow the Golden Rule, which is what the Bible says, which is ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul,’ and love others, so that’s why I try to do – I try to treat people with love, and I think that’s what I’m called to do as a believer and try to live my life that way.”

Schartz will acknowledge that hockey’s reputation as a rough-and-tumble and insular sport may lead to the perception of him as something of an outsider, but the intimate nature of the locker room has allowed him to have meaningful discussions about his faith with teammates over the years who are either curious or looking to get in touch with their own spirituality.

 “Hockey can be a dark world, but if you think about a pitch-black room, and you have a small tiny candle, it’s going to light up a lot more of the space than a well-lit room,” Schartz said. “I think being in this environment gives me the opportunity to love my teammates and have conversations with them that I wouldn’t be able to have in other places and share that love of Jesus.

“If they ask about it I share it; I make sure people know that I’m a believer but I don’t push it on anyone.”

Despite the nomadic lifestyle of a hockey player whose time in the professional ranks has seen stints with several ECHL clubs along with a cup of coffee overseas, Schartz is grateful for the opportunities he’s received in his life, citing a favored line of scripture.

“Psalm 23:01 is probably my favorite verse: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,” Schartz explained. “If we truly believe God is in control of our lives, we shouldn’t really want anything — the creator of the universe loves us enough to have created us, to have given us the opportunity to be alive, and I think what we do with this life is important to worship Him.”

The Solar Bears host Faith & Family Night, presented by Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson, on Sunday, Feb. 23 vs. the Norfolk Admirals at 3 p.m. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for this game.

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