Matt Moulson signed a one year deal earlier this summer to join the Hershey Bears for the upcoming season. The veteran forward appeared in over 1,000 total professional games, 650 of which were at the NHL level. The former Lady Byng trophy finalist joins the Bears after a dreary year on the Ontario Reign last season. Moulson met with the media on Monday at Giant Center in Hershey.
When asked why he wanted to come to Hershey, there was one thing he had in mind. Winning. The strive for success and the Calder Cup is a goal that is driving Moulson to continue his career and come to Hershey. Moulson could play a role similar to that of Brooks Orpik, as an experienced veteran that is able to give support to the younger players.
“I think the biggest thing for me in my career now is to win a championship. I thought it’d be a great opportunity in Hershey. I actually spoke to a couple people who spent a bunch of years in Hershey, Mike Stothers, Marcus Foligno, and I don’t think either one of them had a bad thing to say about Hershey. They both loved their time here, so it was an easy decision.”
Something that will really differentiate Moulson from just a veteran presence is his drive for production. Still feeling like he can play quality hockey Moulson was asked, “What do you bring to the team? How do you help a team like this?”
“Well, other than a lot more gray hairs than every other guy on the team put together, I think just being around the pro game for a bunch of years, I mean, I had ups, I had downs, that’s my number one goal is to make sure I’m helping with with producing. I also think sharing experiences I’ve been through will maybe help a guy out with what they’re going through. You see a lot over the years and even though these young guys have played hockey their whole lives it’s not pro hockey. Sometimes it catches you pretty quickly with things going on. So, I think just helping out that way, making sure everyone is comfortable on the ice, off the ice. And like I said, making sure number one priority is to produce and help this team win.”
Something else that Moulson will bring to the table is an unrivaled work ethic that was brought on by his former coach, Mike Stothers. Stothers is the head coach of the Ontario Reign, where Moulson played last season. One of the major beliefs of Stothers is about hard work and no shortcuts, and this idea became engrained in Moulson. When asked about what Mike Stothers did for his career, Moulson wasn’t shy from sharing the beliefs of a good work ethic that were instilled in him by his former coach.
“Yeah. He’s one of my favorite if not top two favorite coaches I’ve ever had. Like He played the game, he’s hard, he’s strict but he’s honest. He tells it like it is. He’s not going to lie to you or sugar coat anything. I think as a player you appreciate that. You want to know the truth, you want to know what’s going on and he tells you right away. So there are no shortcuts with him. Playing under him was you work hard and get rewarded. He’s a great person; we’ll continue to be in touch.”
One of the final questions that Moulson was asked was “what is the difference between being a young guy and a veteran in the league?” For many of the players on the Bears, they are young talent that are in either their first or second year. Last year saw a team heavy with first year professionals. For Moulson, not much has changed other than adapting more of a role model position.
“That’s a good question. I think I still love the game the same. Obviously at the point in my career I approach it a little differently. These guys are trying to make it in the NHL; they are trying to make a great career out of this game. So I think like I had when I came into the league, there were older guys that would help me. I think just a more supportive role when you’re a little older. Making sure you are supporting the young guys and their goals to do well.”
Matt Moulson is coming into this season ready to win a championship and continue the Bears illustrious and successful history. With the leadership and experience, Moulson will be an extremely influential player on the team. The strong drive for success and production should propel him to be a key player on this year’s roster.
By Zac Herr