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Local Teenager Gets Drafted by Swan River Stamps

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Matt Egan on the ice Jeff Egan

Matt Egan started playing hockey when he was only five years old. A decade later, the St. Adolphe resident is about to take a big step in his on-ice career: in early September, he’s heading out to Swan Valley to participate in the Swan River Stampeders’ 2018 Main Camp. 

Egan was drafted fifteenth overall by the Stampeders, which is one of 11 franchises in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. At only 15 years old, Egan is still a year too young to play Junior A hockey full-time, but his talent was enough to catch the team’s eye, and to bring him out to their Main Camp this fall.

“The draft process was really cool,” says Egan, who plays forward. “It’s all done online, and then scouts reached out to me before the draft, just to talk and see if I was interested.”

After eight years of playing minor hockey with St. Adolphe, he moved on to the more competitive AA Bantam Southwest Jets. From there, he went on to play with the AAA Bantam Eastman Selects for the 2017–2018 season, averaging 0.70 points per game. 

Now that he has turned 15, he has aged out of the Bantam category and will be moving into the Midget level for players under 18. After camp with the Stampeders, the high schooler hopes to play with the AAA Midget Eastman Selects until he is old enough to play with the Junior A Stampeders.

The move to the Junior A is a big step, not just in terms of the level of hockey being played, but in terms of location. Since the drive to Swan Valley is more than five hours long, playing for that team would require Egan to live there. 

“I would get a billet family and live up there with that family,” he explains.

It would be a sacrifice to be away from his family, but one he is willing to make to play at the highest level available at his age. He thrives on the intensity of the competition.

“What really got me into hockey in the first place was the competitiveness. I really love that drive to win. Even when we don’t win, that push to think, ‘Well, what do we do to win the next one?’ is great.”

With three years of high school left to complete, time management has been an important skill for Egan to learn, particularly since he spends at least 20 hours a week on hockey—including on-ice and off-ice training.

“My mom and dad help me out a lot. Balancing school and hockey can be challenging,” he says, “but what I usually do is get right to studying once I get home, and try to do as much homework as I can at lunch time. I work really hard to keep up with everything.”

Hard work is something Egan embraces.

“Natural skill is nice, but hard work is really key,” he says. “Hard work takes you places and it pays off. It paid off for me when I heard my name called in the draft. I was really honoured and I’m looking forward to moving on up.” 

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