That gesture signified the bond that Schumaker has helped cultivate among the Red Raiders, meaning as much to the senior second-year captain as hitting the career milestone moments earlier with a power-play goal against Immaculate Heart Central on March 2 at the Fulton Ice Rink.
Schumaker is a student at Central Square’s Paul V. Moore High School and four-year member of the Fulton varsity hockey team. He became the first Red Raiders player since 2005 to reach the 100-point mark, according to coach Dan Bartlett, and finished his career with 61 goals and 46 assists for 107 total points.
After Schumaker scored the much-anticipated goal for career point No. 100, a pair of junior teammates, John Dingman and Lucas Nelson, quickly skated to grab the puck to present to their senior captain.
“That meant a lot to me to see, it was obviously great to get the goal and it felt nice, but it was nice seeing all my teammates surround me and support me while I was doing it,” Schumaker said.
“Going into the season I knew I was approaching it and then I was afraid of not having a season,” he added. “It really feels good because I feel like for the past couple years, this program has really turned around, and it felt like a nice way to cap that off.”
Schumaker garnered the achievement on what Bartlett referred to as his trademark move.
The standout wing attacked from the right side and worked around defensemen in the middle before firing a high backhand shot just under the top crossbar past the goalie.
The game carried on without a stoppage to recognize the achievement, but a little extra emphasis was placed on the goal celebration for Fulton while a fresh puck was delivered to the ice.
“I’ve seen him do it probably 50 or 60 times in his career, but that particular play might have the best one I had ever seen because when he got to the goalie, he really stuck his short-side right under the crossbar,” Bartlett said. “Our bench was happy for him, our program was happy for him, and it was a really classy way for Derek to get it.”
Schumaker entered the season with 91 career points and was stuck on 98 for a few games before breaking through.
Fulton had five games remaining afterward and Schumaker eventually finished his fourth and final varsity campaign with 11 goals and five assists in 12 outings.
“I was looking at the schedule, seeing the games tick down, but I really just had to stop thinking about it,” Schumaker said. “I got to a point where I was probably overthinking it and pressing a bit, but it really felt nice to just get it off my shoulders.”
The achievement helped cap off a fast-paced season that was condensed into six weeks following the late approval of high-risk winter sports by the state.
Schumaker was aware of the pending milestone entering the year but said he was mostly concerned with simply getting the chance to finish his career on the ice. He started playing the sport around age six and credited his parents, Tim and Karen, for helping him get involved in youth hockey.
“I wasn’t really focusing on (100 points) when I found out that we were going to have a season, it was more just me appreciating the fact that we were going to play and actually have a season,” said Schumaker, also a member of the Central Square varsity baseball team since his freshman year. “This sport has done a lot for me and it was nice to be out here and still be playing.”
Fulton finished with a record of 5-6-1 overall, including a 4-3-1 mark against traditional Section 3 Division I opponents. All games were played between Feb. 11 and March 9 after practices began on Feb. 1.
“You got to figure out how to get back to playing at your highest level in that short of time, so it was definitely tough, but I mean, I’m doing what I love, and everyone here loves hockey, so it’s not a bad thing,” Schumaker said.
Bartlett credited Schumaker — a first team All-Section 3 Division I honoree as a junior last year — for helping set the tone for the principles he hoped to instill when taking over the program as head coach entering the 2018-19 season. The team had won just three games in the full season prior.
Throughout their three seasons together, Bartlett said players routinely requested to play on the same line as Schumaker, largely due to his unselfish play and knack for elevating the abilities of those around him.
“The points are the smallest part of the equation when it comes to Derek, he’s just a quality kid that does things the right way,” Bartlett said. “We were really proud to have him as part of our program, and I think his biggest legacy isn’t in the points he left behind but in the way he approached practices every day, always wanting to get better, and how he approached handling criticism and being accountable.”