With four goals scored in his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Scottsdale-native Auston Matthews has Valley hockey players electrified and inspired.
“It was pretty shocking. One goal and then the second then the third and then the fourth,” said Hunter Mitchell, goalie for the Arizona Bobcats.
With this feat never accomplished before, Valley hockey players that look up to Matthews believe it will shine a spotlight on the Arizona hockey scene.
“He came from Arizona. Now he’s in the NHL and scored four goals in his first game so I think kids are like, 'Maybe I can do that,'” said Aiden Coupe, a player with the Arizona Bobcats.
The NHL’s newest star first took shape at the Arcadia Ice Arena. He was first as a Mustang then became an Arizona Bobcat, where he gained the respect of younger players. Many also dream of becoming a professional hockey player.
“Some of the kids have worn both jerseys and to see him be successful, it makes what he’s doing a tangible possibility for them,” said Cammielle Becker, hockey mom and Bobcats administrator.
“He’s really hardworking and I want to be like him,” said Caden Proefrock, Arizona Bobcats player.
Matthews is known for dropping in unannounced at the arena to participate in youth practices and sign autographs. Rob Holthaus, an arena employee, asked Matthews to sign his Zamboni.
“It’s probably the rink’s best asset. We have a legend already one game in the NHL,” he said.
Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.