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NH native Mat Myers has Stanley Cup dreams

By ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader

June 04. 2017 9:36PM
Manchester native Mat Myers, to the right of the Campbell Trophy, poses with Nashville Predators staff and coaches including head coach Peter Laviolette, to the left of the trophy. (COURTESY)



Mat Myers dreamed of one day winning the Stanley Cup as an NHL player when he was a child growing up in Manchester. While he had to alter his dream, the Stanley Cup is still in his sights.

Myers, who was born with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, is in his second season as the video coordinator for the Nashville Predators.

“I found other ways to adapt my dreams of one day winning a Stanley Cup,” Myers said. “Right now, hopefully, that is coming in the form of video coordinator for an NHL team.”

Growing up in a hockey household, Myers began learning how to skate before he knew how to walk. Myers’ father, Marty, has led Bedford High School to five NHIAA titles over the past six seasons.

“I’ve always been involved in hockey from the day I was born,” Myers said. “(My father) kind of passed on his passion of hockey to me at a pretty young age.”

Myers began playing hockey when he was 6 years old and had to stop when he was 12 due to physical challenges. When his playing days ended, Myers found new ways to be involved in the sport.

Myers, 26, served as a team manager for the boys’ hockey team while attending Trinity of Manchester. While his official title was manager, Pioneers coach Mike Connell said Myers was so much more than that.

Connell said Myers frequently gave his opinion of what he saw on the ice to the coaching staff.

“He has that brain that looks at the game from a coaching standpoint,” Connell said. “Anything he had to add was always valuable.”

Myers’ coaching mind helped him become the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team’s video coordinator his junior year at the school. Myers, who graduated from UNH in 2013, spent his freshman and sophomore years as a team manager.

Myers had no prior video experience before UNH but the job came easy to him.

“I’ve always had that broadcast, eye-in-the-sky perspective,” Myers said. “I’ve never really been a fan of a team. I’ve always watched hockey from a coach’s perspective.”

The Wildcats reached the NCAA Northeast Regional final three times over Myers’ time with the team.

“He was an asset to our program,” UNH coach Dick Umile said of Myers. “(He was) well respected by our players and I know a few games his senior year he had a couple of emotional, motivational speeches that were tremendous.”

After graduation, Myers found himself waiting to hear back from multiple NHL and AHL teams in regards to positions he applied for. He eventually joined USA Hockey as the video coordinator for the women’s national team, a position he held until the Predators came calling.

Nashville was one of the organizations Myers initially reached out to about an opening leading up to graduation.

He said the Predators, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings were the three organizations he most wanted to work for. Myers was interested in Boston because of his New England roots and the Kings because of their affiliation with the Manchester Monarchs.

“Nashville was always a bucket-list city of mine,” Myers said. “I also wanted to be part of an organization going for its first Stanley Cup.”

Myers did not hear back from the Predators until after he began working with the women’s national team. Nashville wanted to interview him for its video coordinator opening. When Myers landed the job, he experienced a similar feeling to when he celebrated the Predators’ first Western Conference title on May 22.

“When your dream job is calling, all you can do in the moment is drop everything,” Myers said. “It was like, ‘When can I start? Can I start tomorrow?’”

Myers spent last season with the Predators breaking down film of players the team might want to draft or make a trade for. He worked closely with scouts like fellow UNH alum Tom Nolan, who played for the Wildcats from 1993-98.

This season, Myers has been tasked with breaking down film of the Predators’ opponents. During the regular season, he watched the prior three games of Nashville’s upcoming opponent and gave his analysis to the coaching staff and individual players like goaltender Pekka Rinne.

“I break down the good and bad of them to the coaches and assistant coaches and look for individual skill sets,” Myers said. “I’ll sit down with our goalie and (say), ‘Here are their top five, six or seven goal scorers and here’s how they usually score.

“There’s a lot of preparation that all leads up to the game.”

Myers had never been to Nashville before he joined the Predators but it did not take him long to make friends. Myers quickly learned he is one of many transplants in the city and among a number of New Englanders within the Predators organization. As he has gotten comfortable in his new surroundings, he has watched the city embrace hockey and the team.

“Nashville is a cool city. There’s a not a lot of people who were born and raised (in New England),” Myers said. “... We all have this cool, unique bond where we’re family and friends.

“We all came down to chase a hockey dream where most are down here chasing a music dream.”

ahall@unionleader.com


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