The bond shared between brothers lasts a lifetime. That bond only deepens when brothers are teammates. Two passionate hockey-loving brothers from Shediac, New Brunswick are living out their hockey dreams together playing for the famed Moncton U18 AAA Flyers.
Obviously, it’s the not the first-time “brothers” have played on Flyers’ teams, but Joachim and Noah Matulu’s bond and journey to the AAA ranks is undoubtedly unique.
The Matulu’s have faced adversity throughout their path in the game. You could say they both have taken the road less travelled to reach their hockey dreams together. The Matulu’s may have played hockey together before, but this is different. Given their ages this may very well be the last time they ever have the chance to suit up together.
That aspect of their journey isn’t lost on seventeen-year-old Joachim and sixteen-year-old Noah. A matter of fact they are trying to embrace every second of their shared experience this season with the Flyers.
“It feels great just knowing we both put the work in to get here,” said Joachim Matulu.
“Having your sibling by your side is just an extra reason to push harder to get there as well,” he added.
“Obviously, being a part of the Flyers is a huge experience just knowing how successful this great organisation has been over the years.”
“It took me a while to get here, but I think it’s going to be a good year alongside my brother and a great group of guys,” said Joachim Matulu.
“Playing at the highest level with Joachim means a lot and it helps me compete harder and persevere to get better,” said Noah Matulu.
“Making the Flyers after my second time trying out means a lot to me,” said the gritty rookie forward.
“Making the team is just the beginning of the process, now the work as to be put in if I want to get any further in my career.”
Joachim Matulu is a smooth skating right shot defender with solid puck skills and offensive instincts. At times Joachim forces the issue, but his aggressive style of play in all three zones is definitely exciting to watch.
Noah Matulu brings skill, grit and intensity to the forward position. The solid two-way forward also boasts great speed and defensive accountability for a very young Flyers team. Both brothers have great shots, offensive instincts and tremendous upside.
It’s clear to see their passion every time they step on the ice. The game of hockey means everything to them. Joachim and Noah Matulu leave it all on the ice.
The Matulu’s played together in the Eastern Conference High School Hockey League last season where they suited up for the LJR Patriots.
In 24 games last season Noah had 5 goals and 9 assists, while Joachim added 6 goals and 7 assists from the backend for the second place Patriots.
The Matulu’s are focused on finding their way together at the U18 level. Obviously, it will take some time for both to find their footing in the league, but both of them are well on their way.
It’s been a long road, especially for Joachim Matulu.
Joachim tried out for the Flyers on three separate occasions. He and his family made the difficult decision to move away at fifteen to play for the Northern Moose of the NB/PEI Major U18 AAA League in hopes of getting drafted in the QMJHL.
Noah stayed close to home and played Bantam AAA during that season.
The Moose had a very young squad in 2018 with the bulk of the team being first year players.
Matulu and all of the young Moose defenders had their share of adversity and very challenging nights to say the least. Nonetheless, the most valuable aspect of that entire experience was just that, experience.
That early experience at the Midget level, fuelled Matulu’s fire to reach new levels in the game.
“Moving away at fifteen was a very good experience for me.”
“I got to play at the Midget AAA level, I matured as a player, but also as a person off the ice,” said Matulu who is wearing an “A” this season for the Flyers.
“I became a lot more independent being away from my family, but had great billet family to support me.”
Every player grows and develops at their unique pace. There’s no question Noah and Joachim Matulu are coming into their own right now. The entire hockey world understands the value of confidence and the massive role it plays in the game. The Matulu’s have to be riding a high given the fact they cracked the Flyers roster this season. Nevertheless, confidence is the key for Joachim, Noah and any young player for that matter moving forward, but both brothers bring an unwavering work ethic to the game they love.
“We are very proud of their accomplishments,” said Mathoux Matulu and Karen Clements, Noah and Joachim’s parents.
“Karen and I always ask our kids to work hard and be committed a hundred percent in everything they do and to always finish what they start.”
“There have been times over the years where the boys chose their high-level sports over going to birthday parties, sleep overs and other social events.”
“For a child or teenager that is a huge commitment,” they said.
There’s no question athletics play a massive role in the Matulu home. “We have three kids involved in sports as my daughter plays soccer for University of Moncton,” Mathoux Matulu said proudly. “They have always been in competitive levels since they were little.”
How hard did the boys work to accomplish their dreams? “Noah and Joe are very hard-working,” said their father proudly.
“Last summer they passed a lot of their evenings in our basement working out after doing outdoor chores all day with their grandfather.”
Having three children heavily involved in sports can be very challenging how have the Matulu’s handled those challenges over the years? “It’s challenging of course, but we try to do it without looking at the difficulties,” admitted Matulu.
“We are just parents who do what they have to do to see our kids happy.”
“We have had great support from our family and friends over the years as well as from members of our Shediac community.”
“We want to thank all of them for their support over the years and want them to know that it is greatly appreciated,” said a reflective Matulu.
How proud are the Matulu’s to have the boys finally reach their dream of playing for the Flyers?
“They did the work. They wanted to play for the Flyers and they made it.”
“That’s their accomplishment, as a parent you want your kids to have passion for something, you want them to set a goal and put the work in to reach that goal,” they said.
“Making the Flyers for us is great lessons for them, if you work hard you will eventually make it,” said Karen and Mathoux Matulu.
For now both Flyer rookies are fixated on team success and have put their individual goals and aspirations on the backburner. “My goal for this season would be to make it to the TELUS Cup with the Flyers and play a big role on the team to help us get where we want to go,” said the speedy forward.
“The goal for this year is going to the TELUS Cup, if the COVID-19 restrictions allow us to have the tournament,” said Joachim Matulu.
“I would also like to get drafted or even invited to a QMJHL camp after this season,” said Noah Matulu.
“My goals in the game are to go to a QMJHL camp next year and if not, I hope to play in the Maritime Hockey League,” said the skilled two-way defenceman.
The brothers are excited at the prospect of being noticed by scouts in both the QMJHL and MHL.
“It is super exciting just knowing there might be someone watching you, but at the same time it pushes me to be consistent and always play as good as I can because you never know who is watching and what their looking for,” said Joachim Matulu.
“It is very exciting to play for the Flyers knowing the league is heavily scouted and it’s a great opportunity to get noticed,” said Noah Matulu.
“It would also mean a lot to get drafted in the juniors. Many good players have the chance to play in junior hockey and it would be an honour to be part of one of those teams.”
What would it mean to both of them to potentially play junior hockey in the years to come and maybe play at that level together? “It would be a special experience to be able to play with my brother at such a high level,” said Noah Matulu.
“It would definitely mean a lot to me to be able to share that experience with Joachim,” he added.
“Playing junior with Noah would be unreal, we started this game together and it would be awesome to play at that high level with my little bro.”
Both brothers are quick to credit their parents for amazing support over throughout their journey in the game. “In my opinion I believe my parents have made sacrifices, but my they always say ‘we haven’t sacrificed anything, we are just doing are duty’s as parents,’” said Joachim Matulu.
“Dad doesn’t consider it to be sacrifices, but more as something he felt he had to do for us,” said Noah Matulu.
“He thinks he just did is role as the father and kept pushing us to achieve the success we wanted.”
The bond shared between brothers lasts a lifetime. That bond only deepens when brothers are teammates. Noah and Joachim Matulu are living out their hockey dreams together and that’s what matters most, there are in it together, brothers and teammates for life!