We got another exciting coach to feature for the month of January, we caught up with Matt Harris to discuss a few different topics like about his hockey career as both a player and a coach as well as his involvement in golf! Let’s dive into it.
Matt started playing hockey at age 5. It was in Peewee that he started playing AAA, which was the first Peewee AAA team for CYV Panthers. He then went on to Bantam AAA and in the summer of 1996 he made HNIB (Hockey Night in Boston) Team Atlantic. Due to the exposure from that team, he was offered a scholarship to attend NSA (National Sports Academy) in Lake Placid NY, which was a Division 1 Independent School. At age 15, Matt moved 10 hours from home and played Varsity. “This was some of the best times of my life” said Matt. After 3 years, he came home to play for the local Junior team, the Woodstock Slammers while attending NBCC and UNB for Business Administration. Matt then furthered his academic learning by attending The University of Guelph for Turf Management. To nobody’s surprise, Matt didn’t stop his hockey career after Junior, he also went on to play senior hockey with The Hartland Sabres.
These days if you see Matt in the rink, he’s most likely behind the bench. He owes his love for coaching to his Father and Grandfather, who both coached him at different times in his life. They would be there on the bench, during off-ice training or in the backyard rink that was always filled with kids. Their passion became his passion. He now coaches Novice and he loves giving his best to develop the young players. Literally teaching kids to play the game, trying to get players to strive to improve past where they think they can go and watching them reach their goals.
It is smiles and high fives all around. The smiles and high fives are what keeps us coaches, as much as the kids wanting to come back.
Matt explained that there is nothing better than a good group of kids and watching them grow over the season in many ways other than just what they do on the ice. Watching the fun they have always reminded him what it is all about. Improving the kids while making it fun.
He has coached his daughter Rielle (10) and his son Reese (7) since they started playing. This is the first year he hasn’t coached Rielle in Minor Hockey but, he knows she is in good hands. Like his Father and Grandfather, Matt now transfers his knowledge in the rink as well as the backyard that he builds since 2011 and it has grown almost every year. The kids love it as it is half ice hockey in its purest form.
Matt’s hobbies include coaching hockey and his backyard rink of course, but in the offseason, he is busy running a golf course! He is the President and Superintendent at Covered Bridge Golf & CC in Hartland NB. His Grandfather was the original President and his Father the original Superintendent. They both built the course. He started working there as a free labourer at about age 10. He finally got his first pay cheque as a student at age 18. He worked in the summers full time when he was in University and fell in love with the job and improving the course. So he then decided to make a career out of it and worked his butt off to make that happen. Finally, all of the hard work paid off and Covered Bridge Golf was awarded the 2019 Canadian Juniors Championship. A national event at a golf course located in a town of 1000 residents – must be a well-maintained course.☺
Matt’s and his beautiful wife Angela have been together since they were 18. They got married in 2007 and have 2 kids – Reese and Rielle.