After 10 Years, Well-Liked UD Hockey Coach Steps Down

 

Nick “Matts” Matarese is a UD Hockey Alum, who played with the Blue Hens from 2004-2008. At his final hockey banquet, Nick was asked to be a goalie coach for the team, and the rest is history. He has been coaching goalies for the past 10 seasons, and has played a big support role off the ice as well. His track record as a coach has been quite impressive, and over the seasons, collectively, his goalies have had an average save percentage of .92. Off the ice, Matts has designed the team’s current and specialty jerseys, the senior schedule posters, and has done work with video production, social media and logo design for the team. All of his efforts and time have been volunteer work.

His favorite memory with the Blue Hens, as a coach, was a no brainer. He said, “Winning the National Championship. Knowing that you were part of the organization that finally won a National Championship is hard to beat, especially knowing how many great players and teams had come before that. I specifically remember when the last buzzer sounded, and Jordan Legath (another coach, who I also played with at UD for 3 years) and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders as if to say “we finally did it” and hugged before running onto the ice with the players. The rink is literally filled with banners of great teams and players, and being with them is a great honor.”

When asked about his favorite part about being a coach, Matts was brutally honest and said, “that’s a really hard question to answer.” But, he concluded that it was sharing knowledge with the younger goalies, and watching their “a ha” moments on the ice when the skill finally clicked. Not only was he able to help improve the skills of a goalie, but he was also able to share knowledge with forwards and explain to them plays made from a goalie’s point of view. This made for smarter thinking forwards on the ice for the Blue Hens.

He has coached a handful goalies over the past 10 seasons. Some of his former team members spoke very highly of him. Stephen “SJ” Broadt, who is now an emergency goalie for the NJ Devils, said, “I really enjoyed working with Matt, as he has a great understanding of the game from a goalies point of view.  He was a great resource during my time at UD and worked with me each week to improve and keep my game simple.” Patrick Rochefort, a member of the Class of 2016, added, “As the only UD goalie coach in program history to have been part of a national championship team, Matts deserves a ton of credit for what he has accomplished during his time coaching at UD. As a goalie coach, Matts understood that each goaltender’s style was dependent on the individual and that it wasn’t something that should be changed at the collegiate level. He dedicated countless volunteer-hours both on and off the ice, weather it be running goalie specific drills during practices or exercising his talents as a graphic designer preparing promotional materials for the team. He was always ready to lend a helping hand and I consider myself truly fortunate to have had Matts as a goalie coach over my 4 years at UD. I can honestly say that he will  be truly missed.” Finally, current student at UD and goalie for the Hens, Stephen East said, “Matts was a great assistant/goalie coach, and an even better guy. He held tremendous knowledge for the game, and was able to work on little weaknesses that helped make a bigger difference in our play throughout the season. Matts made the game fun when he was around, the way it is supposed to be played. Whether it was his insight as a coach or just conversation about life, he was always a pleasure to be around and many looked up to him as not only a coach but also a big brother. We are all definitely going to miss him, but we all wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.”

Matts will be truly missed as a coach, but his time here does not go unnoticed. He will continue his support of the team with his off-ice volunteer work. The team is incredibly grateful for all that Nick has done over the past 10 seasons, and would like to congratulate him on all his success with the Blue Hens.

Written By: Analisa Vizzoni

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