After a day of celebration on Saturday, the real work is beginning for Sault Ste. Marie native Jack Matier.
On Saturday, the Nashville Predators made his dream a reality by selecting the 18-year-old blueliner in the fourth round (124th overall) in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
The Ottawa 67’s defenceman will look to take advantage of the opportunity presented to him, but not before enjoying having his name called in the NHL draft.
“A dream come true,” Matier said when asked what his reaction was to being drafted. “It’s something that I’ve worked for my whole life and to see my name go up on the board there was special. I had my family around me. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
The 18-year-old said receiving a call from the Predators moments after being selected helped the moment sink in.
“They called right after the pick and I would say that’s really when it set in, talking to them and welcoming me to the organization and saying how happy they were to draft me,” Matier said. “That was kind of the point where it set in that I was drafted to the National Hockey League.”
“Obviously with COVID, we weren’t able to meet and do interviews face-to-face so we had to do Zoom meetings,” Matier said. “It was harder to connect person-to-person with the scouts, but that’s the world we live in now. You just have to make the most of your time talking to them and show the other side of you, not just the player, but the person.”
Being drafted by the Predators, Matier said there’s some added excitement because of the defenceman that the team has produced over the years.
“They really develop their defencemen,” Matier said. “You go back the last few years with Shea Weber, Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi in the last few years. I’m excited to work with them and hopefully develop my game to become one of those guys.”
With the draft behind him, Matier said he will use the summer to continue to train and skate locally before heading down to the Music City later in the summer.
“I’ll probably be heading down to Nashville sometime in August, and I’ll be ready for camp in Ottawa on September 2,” Matier said. “I’m excited to get back to playing hockey and some sort of normalcy for sure.”
The 67’s blueliner said he plans to use the remainder of the summer leading into camp to “continue to grow my strength.”
“It’s something that I’ve worked on the whole summer, but (being drafted) is an opportunity and I have to continue to do what I’ve been doing,” Matier added