He's considered an "A' level prospect by NHL Central Scouting. He's ranked by ISS, HockeyProspect.com, TheScoutingReport.org and FutureConsiderations.ca as a 1st rounder for 2012 and the season has just barely begun.
Michael Matheson is a native of Quebec but has taken his skates to the USHL where he plays for the defending champion Dubuque Fighting Saints. The 17-year-old has agreed to keep in contact with us and hockey fans this season by contributing to an ongoing series of blogs. Mike won't be the only 2012 eligible player to do so this year but he is the first.
Today we learn some of his back story as Mike introduces himself to our audience and readership. We first got to know him a little a few weeks back when he appeared on The Pipeline Show and it was that conversation which eventually led to the blog you are about to read.
Without further ado, here is the first installment of the 2012 Guest Player Blog written by Michael Matheson...
Hi, I’m Mike Matheson from the Dubuque Fighting Saints. I grew up in a city named Pointe-Claire just outside of downtown Montreal, Quebec. Pointe-Claire is one of few English speaking areas in all of Quebec. I have an older brother Kenny, who also plays on the Dubuque Fighting Saints as a forward. I also have an older sister who studied at Deerfield Academy while playing hockey for their Varsity team, and now studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. My parents are Rod and Margaret.
My parents decided it would be a good idea for my older sister and brother, as well as myself to attend elementary school in French. I then moved on to high school, where I switched to English. I went to John Rennie High School in a sports studies program called “Sport-Etudes”. I graduated last year while playing for the Lac St.-Louis Lions in the Quebec Midget AAA league for a second year. We were fortunate enough to win the Quebec league and move on to the Telus Cup where we won Bronze.
My two years in Midget AAA brought a lot of opportunities that I never thought could be possible. After my first year, I was had to make a decision between playing in the Quebec Major Junior League or to play in the USHL and continue on to the NCAA. I chose to pursue my career with the USHL and NCAA. I was very excited to play with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. I still had not been able to decide which University I liked best, it came down to three as I tried to make the hardest decision I have ever made; Boston College, Vermont University and Boston University.
I eventually decided to commit to Boston College. It was such a relief to have finally made that decision, to remove that load off my shoulders. After experiencing something like that, it feels great to finally know where you will be in the next few years and be able to remove all the uncertainties that pertain to it. After following the Saints last year as they fought their way to the Clark Cup win, I was even more motivated to get down here to begin a season with such an amazing organization.
My summer leading up to this season has been the busiest I have ever had. It was already the shortest I’ve had because of how well my team did in playoffs, which is the best reason you could ever have!
I was given the opportunity to tryout for the Canadian U-18 Ivan Hlinka team, the camp was in Calgary. If you made the team, you traveled directly to Slovakia for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. I was chosen for the team, which was the most amazing honor I have ever received. We won the Gold Medal against Sweden in the final, after losing to them earlier on it the tournament. I am still trying to find words to express how grateful I am to have been apart of an experience like that. The next event was two days after I got home, in Toronto.
I was chosen as one of forty players to participate in the NHL Research and Development Camp. It was incredible to be surrounded by the best players in North America, as well as a countless number of NHL General Managers, Scouts and Coaches. It was an experience I will never forget.
September 1st finally came and it was time to head down to Dubuque. My brother and I got in the car and drove for a total of 20 hours, over two days to get there. It was worth every minute because we were both extremely excited to start the year with the Saints. It’s the first year that we have been able to play on the same team because we have three years between us.
I am writing this on the eve of our home opener against Green Bay. There is a huge rivalry between us that grew last year, especially during the Clark Cup finals. We have been practicing hard all month to prepare for our season. There is nothing like jumping out on to the ice in your home rink in the USHL. I can’t wait to get out on the ice!
Michael Matheson is a defenceman listed at 6' and 170 lbs. He's described as a solid skater with strong passing skills and a calm, mature demeanor on the ice. He represented Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka tournament, and finished with no offensive point production but with a gold medal around his neck.
(Photos: Jim Naprstek, Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL, Lac St. Louis Lions)