Hockey’s Future QA with Winterhawk’s Winger Matt Girling

By Glen Crichton

Matt is a skilled winger that isn’t afraid to go to the net and work the walls, taking the hit to make the play. Has an accurate shot and knows how to find open space in the offensive zone to make use of it. Solid two way play and ability to make things happen should open the eyes of NHL scouts. One NHL scout was heard to say, “this kid has the potential to score some goals and if he gets bigger and stronger, will be a solid prospect”.

Matt isn’t as pleased as he’d like to be with the start of this season, he’s been hampered with a groin and hip flexor injury, which he had treated over the Christmas break and with it feeling much better, hopes it will let him get back playing his gritty, offensive game.

Hockeys Future: Last season you had a pretty solid year with 24 points as a sixteen year old rookie, how do you think it went?

Matt Girling: It was okay, it could have been better.

HF: This being your draft year, what expectations did you have?

MG: I plan on having a strong season, showing consistency and not getting hurt or anything and just getting drafted.

HF: What were your goals for the year as far as points?

MG: Put up some great numbers, a lot more than last year, probably sixty points or so and just have a great year.

HF: How do you think its gone so far and what areas of your game do you think need to improve?

MG: The first half of the season I don’t think I was that consistent and I need to be, which will help my game. I’ve had a bit of a leg injury and it’s getting better, so I hope that helps.

HF: Have you talked to any teams and have you heard what they would like to see you do better?

MG: I’ve been talked to a little bit but not a whole lot, heard some things from the coaches and stuff?

HF: What areas are they suggesting to work on?

MG: Not a lot really, but I know I have to work on my skating, everyone can be a better skater and being a ready every night. Helping the team win and doing well in the playoffs.

HF: Before joining the WinterHawks, where did you play your minor hockey?

MG: I played bantam hockey in Saskatoon for the Raiders.

HF: What have been some of your hockey highlights so far?

MG: Trying out for the Canadian Under-17 team and getting to the final 22. I didn’t make the club, but it was a good experience. Other than that league championships with minor hockey teams, stuff like that. Getting to the provincials, we didn’t win, but it was great to get that far.

HF: I’ve heard from some scouts that they would like to see more physical play, do you think that will come with maturing physically and experience in the league?

MG: I think I have that part of my game, but I showed it more last year than this year. I’ve been grittier in front of the net more this year, but not as strong along the boards as I can be.

HF: What do you think is the strongest part of your game, whets going to get you drafted and take you to the next level?

MG: Probably goal scoring and just going to the net and getting the puck. I think the last few games I’ve been going to the net and have been creating more chances. I think it will start coming right away, I’ve just got to keep working hard and as soon as I get one, they’ll start coming, but I’ve just got to get that first one.

HF: Being from Saskatoon, what is it like playing in a bigger American city like Portland Oregon, any adjustments?

MG: Not a whole lot different, just a great organization, but a bigger city so it takes a lot longer to get around. The only thing I don’t like is it takes so long to get anywhere.

HF: Thanks a lot Matt and good luck for the rest of the season and in the upcoming draft.

MG: Thank you.