Flashback to a time before Dallas had a hockey team. Before the Stars franchise was even a shadow of a thought. Heck, even before Wayne’s World. Remember back, if you can, to the NHL Draft of 1991. Names like Eric Lindros, Sean Pronger, Peter Forsberg, and even Ray Whitney, hung in the air. (And yes, that’s the same Ray Whitney – don’t be so shocked…he is 40…) Matvichuk, who played junior hockey for the Saskatoon Blades, was drafted eighth overall, and left his home town of Fort Saskatchewan, Canada to join the North Stars in Bloomington, MN, 20 hours away. He spent a year playing for the North Stars before he, and many other players like Mike Modano, Neal Broten and Craig Ludwig, made the almost 1,000-mile transition to Dallas.
At a sizeable 6’3″, 215lbs, Matvichuk was no stranger to physical play. But despite his size, penalties weren’t a norm for the Canadian, who typically spent less than 60 minutes a season in the penalty box, with the exceptions of the 95-96 and 96-97 seasons, when he pushed and exceeded 80. In stark contrast, teammate Derian Hatcher, who stands only two inches taller and weighs only 20 pounds heavier than Matvichuk, topped out at 211 penalty minutes during the Stanley Cup-winning 93-94 season. During the 1999-2000 season, Hatcher hit his lowest number of penalty minutes as a Star at 68.
Matvichuk played a total of 796 games with the Stars in which he scored 39 career goals and earned 178 points. In the off-season of 2004, he became a free agent and was signed by the New Jersey Devils, where he played 63 total games. He played in only the final game during the 2006-2007 season after undergoing back surgery.
Today, Matvichuk remains a pivotal player in the popularity and growth of hockey in North Texas. Last year, he joined former teammates Mike Modano, Ed Belfour and Craig Ludwig in becoming members of the Allen Americans hockey organization. He joined the team as an assistant general manager and defensive coach, and is also an assistant coach for the Dallas Stars Midget AAA team.