Coming off a gold medal win with Team Canada in May at the World Under-18 Championship in Texas, Sault Ste. Mare native Jack Matier could experience another high this weekend by having his name called in the NHL draft.
Like a lot of Ontario Hockey League players. the 18-year-old Ottawa 67’s defenceman didn’t get into a lot of game action during the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19.
In an interview with SooToday in the spring, Matier spoke of just how tough it was with the uncertainty surrounding whether the OHL would have a season.
“With the gyms and rinks opening and closing, it’s been tough,” Matier said. “Like a lot of kids across Ontario, a lot of practices were skill-based and working on individual skill. I was still in the gym whenever I could be when it was open. I was working on stuff I needed to work on and it really helped improve my skating and overall strength.”
Despite the lack of game action, Matier said he used the time to hone his game ahead of the draft.
“I really wanted to improve my explosiveness,” Matier said. “It’s one thing that, working with Aidan Wright (locally in the Sault) and my trainer in Ottawa, has really translated on the ice with my skating and my first three strides.”
The summer will be used to continue that development in his game.
“It’ll be pretty similar with a lot of explosiveness and quickness drills, but also overall strength,” Matier said. “It’s something at this age that every kid needs to improve on. Those are probably the things I’ll key in on and really work at.”
To read our previous feature on Matier, click here.