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Former NHLer - Matt Anderson- meets with Elite Students

By EHA, 01/29/21, 3:00PM EST


This week as part of our Elite Hockey Academy Mentorship Program, we were fortunate to speak former NHLer Matt Anderson.  Matt is a native of West Islip, Long Island and furthered his career as a captain at the Division I level at UMass Amherst and then took the next step of playing professionally for 11 years including the NHL and KHL.

Anderson's focus on growing a network slowly with the right people, and you’ll find that you create opportunities for yourself. Creating friendships and NETWORKING for the rest of your life, you don’t realize the impressions you’re making on people (hockey world is small) 

  • The relationships he made with his college staff at UMass Amherst, were able to get him to the NJ Devils in the NHL
  • NHL super star, llya Kovalchuk helped Anderson get a contract in Russia, playing in the KHL

Anderson then spoke to the players about the requirements to play at every level and the secrets to becoming a dominant youth hockey player and beyond..

He explained as players get older, the player pool becomes more competitive and you find yourself surrounded with like-minded players on their respective teams, effort alone isn't enough to gain an advantage or stand out as a high-end player against the opposition or even amongst their own teammates.  So what are your requirements or goals you set yourself at each level 15-18 years old?

Anderson believes the biggest part of separating yourself is working on your minimum requirements.  Instead of doubling down on your strengths, here are some quick tips to consider:

  • Setting your standards of where you are currently at.  Are you the best in your age group right now? If so, compare yourself to players that are older than you. Don't settle for being a big fish in a small pond
  • Work on your weaknesses - You are only as strong as your weakest link.  Self evaluate and find what parts of your game are you weak in? Don't just always be fixated on your strengths.  
  • Always have goals - Continue to grow. To be equal to your teammates, you have to be better than the next man.
  • What is holding you back? Be a well-rounded player.  A Lot of players are top heavy with their single mindedly focused just on their strengths.  High level players work on the little things that evolve their game.

Emotions: stay well balanced, never get too high, never get too low.  As a player, person, student, you need to understand how to play through the lows and ride the wave when you're feeling high emotions and short term memory when things don't go your way.  It's never as good as you think it is and it's never as bad as you think it is.

  • Control what you can control - Your attitude, physical fitness, nutrition, doing the best we can in all facets of the game.
  • Never do anything in a game that you wouldn't do in practice, why would you change your routine, or equipment, or take a caffeinated drink before a game and not in a practice, never change your routine it confuses the body.

Leadership - How do you feel? You feel with your hands.

  • Never show weakness, people look for others to lead them.  You're not always going to feel 100%.  You have to have a positive attitude and bring a relentless work ethic to everything you do.
  • Be where your feet are, leave your baggage at the door.  Nobody cares about your problems.
  • Be focused and bring good energy.  
  • Leadership is contagious, surround yourself with good people,  you are who you associate yourself with. 

Book Recommendations:  Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

The energy bus is a fable that will help you create positive energy with ten simple rules and make it the center of your life, work, and relationships.

Matt Anderson

An American former professional ice hockey player. He played in the National Hockey League with the New Jersey Devils.

More About Matt Anderson