Ten years ago, a 17-year-old youngster named Matt Read came to St. Marys to play Jr. ‘B’ hockey with the Lincolns.
His younger brother Mitch followed in his footsteps and came to play for the Lincs last season. This year, the agile defenceman is one of the team’s assistant captains.
“Matt kind of inspired me to play here in St. Marys,” the 19-year-old Read said in a recent interview with the Journal Argus. “When he played here (2003-05 season), he liked the program and he liked the town.
“It definitely helped make my decision to come here.”
Matt Read, a skilled forward, played two seasons with the Lincolns.
As a rookie in 2003-04, he had 12 goals and 25 points in 36 games. As a sophomore the following season, Read clicked for better than a point-a-game. He finished the year with 23 goals and 52 points in 47 games.
The following season, Read joined Milton Icehawks of the Provincial Tier II Jr. ‘A’ League. With Milton, he fired 34 goals and had 68 points in 48 games.
His good numbers caught the attention of the United States Junior Hockey League (USHL), and Read played the 2006-07 season with Des Moines Buccaneers. With Des Moines, he had 28 goals and 62 points in 58 games.
Next was NCAA Division 1 college hockey in the U.S. After four years with Bemidji State University Beavers in Minnesota, Read signed a three-year contract as a free agent with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers on March 24, 2011.
Read finished the 2011-12 season leading all NHL rookies in goals scored, 24, and ranking fourth among all freshmen in points with 47.
Following the 2012-13 season, Read was invited to play for Team Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Championships.
Helpful tips from NHLer
Mitch Read, meanwhile, said he’s gotten several tips from his older brother, who’s now in his fourth season of pro hockey.
“He’s given me lots of tips,” Mitch says. “He’s come out to summer skates I’ve been to, and he’s given me some pointers.
“He’s taught me a lot of things that his (Flyers) teammates do, and it’s definitely helped me at the Jr. ‘B’ level.”
The higher the level, the faster the game of hockey gets at all levels. Matt Read has told his brother about the “speed” of the NHL game and the “intelligence” and “skill” of the players.
Mitch Read has been to Philadelphia to watch his brother play with the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.
In Matt Read’s rookie season (2011-12), Mitch went to Philly to watch his brother play in the outdoor Winter Classic against rival New York Rangers.
“I stayed and watched a couple of games down there,” he recalled.
Played minor hockey in Ilderton, Lucan
Mitch Read played his minor hockey in Ilderton and Lucan, where he now resides.
He won an OMHA championship in Midget in Lucan, and he’d like to win a championship with the Lincolns. The team has struggled his season, but he feels there are better days ahead.
“We just need to believe in ourselves,” Read said. “I also think we need somebody to lead us.
“I’m trying to be a team leader and help out the younger guys out. If they do something wrong, I tell them to move on and forget about it . . . do something good on their next shift.”