Auston Matthews Renaissance Man

A rookie NHL All-Star, the number one overall pick, an 18 year old from Arizona, and the future of the NHL, number 34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews is fifth overall in total goals this season. Auston Matthews was born in San Ramon, California on September 17, 1997 and at two months old, moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. To begin, his Uncle had season tickets to then, Phoenix Coyotes games, now Arizona Coyotes, where Auston went to his first hockey game at the age of three. He fell in love with the sport. He first started hockey at age five and was once better at baseball than he was at hockey. He was good at baseball because he had good eye-hand coordination and batting was his strength. Anyhow, there weren't very many ice rinks in the desert so ice was limited, therefore, so was competition. They had to travel far to play challenging teams. As has been mentioned, Auston Matthews had some challenges growing up in Arizona to become the number one draft pick.

(Left) Auston with his parents (right) Auston Matthews and his older sister with former Coyote Daniel Briere

Auston Matthews’ hockey career started in the Arizona Bobcats and Junior Coyotes minor hockey programs. He was always playing a year older than his age group. When he was seven, Matthews started working with Ukrainian power skating coach Boris Dorozhenko who taught very strange ways to work on skating and control. Auston played up until 2013 when he was old enough to go to Ann Arbor and play for the USNTDP of the USHL. In his second season with the U18 National Development Team, Matthews recorded 116 points passing up the National Team Development Program record of 102 points by Patrick Kane. He was homeschooled in high school and took an accelerated course so he was eligible for college if he decided to go. Overall, Auston Matthews was playing at a higher level than average for most of his life.

Auston Matthews with his long time skating coach Boris Dorozhenko

Auston Matthews was drafted first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL draft. In the season before, Matthews chose to go to Switzerland to play one season for the Zurich Lions. If he was born two days earlier he would have been eligible for last year's draft and would have challenged Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel at the top two spots. Auston Matthews is 6’3” and 215 pounds. He plays more as a power forward and uses his hands and vision to find opportunities. Matthews scored four goals in his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators, and scored his first All-Star goal against a line of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. In the All-Star Skills Competition, where players compete in different events for different skills, he competed in the accuracy shooting event. Matthews hit four targets in five shots in a little over twelve seconds to take the lead. The next competitor was Sidney Crosby and also hit four targets in five shots but in a little less than eleven seconds. As you can see, Auston Matthews is dominating in the NHL and he's only 18 years old. Auston Matthews is changing the future competition of the NHL.

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