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Year End With Captain Matthew Stewart

Photo Credit Richmond Sockeyes

The season might be over and as one season ends the next begins that will see the Richmond Sockeyes have a new Captain with Mathew Stewart moving on.

In a recent conversation with Matthew Stewart.he lets us know how his role played out this past season given the pressure he was under in such a prestigious role.

Training camp had lots of veteran presence who wanted to set the tone early, setting goals that they wanted to achieve, managing to hit the ground running from the opening face-off.

There was no question given the team made major changes to the coaching staff with the team being told earlier last summer changes were in the work.

The veteran players managed the team and left Cullen Revel and staff to put a winning team in place which they managed to do, possibly shocking many.

There was no question that the new coaching staff had “big shoes to fill” but the passion they had was front and centre each and every day given that all coaches were different and dynamitic in their own unique way.

From playing to structured to grit and determination it all seemed to blend together noting that Matt would reach out to Cullen first with everything from a technical question to skills adding grit heading into the season leaving it up to the players to do the right things every single night knowing it was one game at a time.

Matt mentioned that they were extremely hands on knowing that the players put more pressure on themselves given the concept of knowing the new players filling roster spots.

Prior to joining the team during Covid-19 season he played for the Greater Vancouver Canadians where they were asked if they had any promising players the Sockeyes might be interested in which his name was mentioned.

Heading into the season there was lots of practice time  that saw him work with the coaching staff the following year with camp being somewhat nerve wracking playing against players from other leagues which was a much higher level of hockey.

He did have aspirations of possibly playing with the Giants but playing with the Sockeyes might help him get to the next level but being one of the youngest was worrisome and nervous but it was the best decision he ever made.

Trading deadline is always a concern to all players but there wasn’t lots of turnover as in previous years especially for the younger players or lower in the line-up or even new to the team playing on the mind of the players.

Overall it wasn’t much of a concern as the team had a strong belief that if they kept doing what they were the coaching staff would keep them around.

Being named as Captain was “very special” as he was Captain for other teams which he holds dear to his heart being a leader filling the position of other great Sockeyes Captains which he looked up to all in the past.

He mentions you take “bits and pieces| from previous Captains working to blend in so as to be the best he could be mentioning that he is “pretty vocal” noting that the players listen leading by both example and his play.

Given the winning streak he mentions that he doesn’t think that it bothered anyone but it did play on the minds of all players but at the end of the day you can’t control what happens such as a bad bounce, but that’s hockey.

He mentioned that there “was extra pressure on ourselves” knowing that it was their last year plus knowing that they have never made it as far as they did this year but were focused on getting past the first round.

He mentions “SJ is the best trainer he has ever seen being at the rink day and night getting text messages all day long answering them all” which can be said by everyone with the  team, including the broadcast crew.

He did circle the “Tunnel Series” on his calendar which is such a great rivalry as well as being stressful but those are the games you sign up for.

There was no question that it was fun to pull out the win over a rival punching your ticket to the final against  a strong balanced Ridge team knowing that they had a strong belief in each other even finding themselves down.

Even down in the series he mentioned that Popa brought a lot of  balance from the back end carrying them through a lot of  games but we were fortunate to have Thomas, Oliver Read and Noah Stenvig.

He mentioned that playing for now Vancouver Giant Tyler Thorpe was a dream albeit even for one season saying he’s a great guy even continuing to come out to support the team on his nights off.

He mentions “One thing about the Sockeyes is their rich history of players with a long list of players which shows the culture the Sockeyes have.

When asked if the outcome of game seven might have been different if Teo Lin was in the line-up without hesitation he mentioned “yes I do  – knowing the type of player and person he is he’s a phenomenal player and a game changer.

What’s next for the Captain he’s currently attending Langara in the transfer program to UBC hopefully finishing his Kinesiology Degree and wants to stay in the game coaching different ages of spring teams which is fun.

When asked if he wasn’t playing hockey what he would play he mentioned “growing up he played lots of lacrosse and tried baseball and soccer but mentions lacrosse would have been my sport.”

His Mother and Sisters were extremely supportive, giving up countless hours always cheering him on and they  have been phenomenal.  

He would like to get involved in coaching, possibly ending up at a higher level of the game, but currently enjoys working with young Richmond players.

Lastly he mentioned “The Sockeyes are a top notch organization from head to toe, outstanding, character building and amazing as a player to play for in a top league and could not have asked for a better organization to play for.

He gave tons of thanks to the Richmond fans who  came out to support the Sockeyes for all games.

Here’s wishing Captain Matthew Stewart all the best moving forward!!


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He was recognized by Ravi Kahlon, BC’s MLA Minister for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation in September 11, 2017.
In December 2022 he was Awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Pin.
Awarded Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award for tangible for significant assistant given for the better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.
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