Players to Watch in 2022-2023: Matt MacLean

Everyone gets sentimental or is drawn to a comeback story. It’s human nature to cheer for the underdog or the comeback story, but every one of those stories are unique. In Matt MacLean’s case he missed what some players say is the most important year of their playing careers, their draft year. MacLean’s injury occurred at an age where some people might say it could be over for good.

Photo Credit Normand Leger

The 2006 born defender missed the entire 2021-2022 season due to a severe injury suffered at the U-15 AAA level. Saying that the highly skilled smooth skating two-way defender hasn’t missed a beat during his comeback would be an understatement. The highly touted prospect is proving he belongs in the upper echelon of defenders in the NB/PEI Major U18 AAA League. His comeback is truly astonishing given the severity of the injury and length of time he missed and the level of play he has returned to at the U-18 level.

MacLean’s composure with the puck and play away from it is second to none. His instincts and feel for the position are tremendous. There’s absolutely zero rust in his game which speaks volumes to his skill, character, and hockey sense. Perhaps some within the scouting fraternity might be hesitant or believe the ship has sailed given his age and type of injury. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

MacLean’s comeback story is still within the early stages of being written, but the relative ease at which he plays the game provides all the feedback and evidence that is needed to determine he’s definitely a player to watch moving forward.

Everyone gets sentimental or is drawn to a comeback story, but no one really knows what goes through the mind of the individual and their family. From all the sacrifices and countless hours of rehab to all the setbacks and triumphs, very few ever experience the rollercoaster of emotions and the struggle within that athletes go through to return to the game they love.

To return to the level they were accustomed to playing and go beyond any expectations is a true mark of the player and person. Matt MacLean possesses the confidence, skill, passion and an unwavering determination that it takes to play the game at a very high level.

Every comeback story is unique, Matt MacLean’s is still being written. In 2 games with the Knights MacLean as one goal and three assists.

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