Game On Magazine November 2015 - Page 16

“The best part for me is that he wants to get better. He has an attitude in which he simply wants to be the best player. He wants to continue to improve and that is what really sets him apart from a lot of players I see.” Even though he’s only 16, Mattheos has plenty of experience. He started playing the game with the Varsity View Falcons when he was just five years old. “I started with Varsity View and played in the APHA,” Mattheos said. “I played with the Rangers as a Peewee at 10-11, the Monarchs when I was 12 and as a bantam and then the (Provincial Triple A Midget) Winnipeg Wild when I was 15. “Now it’s just great to be playing close to home and it’s an honor to put on the Wheat Kings jersey every night.” In his final season as a bantam – his WHL draft year – with the Monarchs, he posted an outrageous a 103 points in 35 games. However, he finished with just 14 goals and 25 points in 27 games with the Wild last season. As the Wild were chasing their fourth straight Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League title, Mattheos was fighting through injuries for most of the season. It cost him a chance to play in the Canada Winter Games and also in the Triple A Midget playoffs. Without him, the Wild lost in the semifinals in three straight games to the Pembina Valley Hawks and it was quite a disappointing way to end his midget career. However, he did get a call up from the Wheat Kings and he did score his first WHL goal last spring. He also got to see how much better the level of play is in the WHL as compared to the Manitoba Triple A Midget League. “It’s a league with bigger guys and the game is a lot faster, physically and mentally,” he said. “It was an adjustment for sure, but I felt like I got more used to it as my first game went on. Like always, I just tried to work my hardest and learn as much as I could.” Learning seems to be pretty easy for Mattheos. A Grade 11 student at Crocus Plains High School in Brandon, he does well in school and admits quite openly that he “likes” school. Of course, he left St. John’s Ravenscourt in Winnipeg with a 90 per cent average. Like hockey, school comes pretty easily to Mattheos. In fact, at Ravenscourt, Mattheos received the James A. Richardson Memorial Scholarship, presented to a student who exemplifies outstanding achievements in both schoolwork and athletics. “I like school for sure,” he said enthusiastically. “I’m in a great school and our counselor, Glenda Zelmer is a big help for all of us. It’s really important to have a good school counselor and we have a great one.” It isn’t easy to mix high school and the travel requirements of the WHL, but Mattheos doesn’t seem to be concerned about it. This season, at least, he’s going to keep his head up and learn as much as he can. “I’ll do whatever is best for the team,” he said, not at all concerned that he’s arrived as a top line midget player and will likely be a third or fourth-liner in Brandon this season. “The only thing that matters is winning. I’m going to work my hardest, learn as much as I can and let the coaches do what they need to do.” Now that sounds like a winning formula for any player. n 16 GAME ON NOVEMBER 2015