The Toronto Maple Leafs inked 21-year-old heart and cornerstone Auston Matthews to a brand new contract on Feb. 5, a five-year, signing bonus-laden deal for $58.17 million that comes with a mean annual cap hit of $11.634 million.
Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Being the second-highest paid NHL participant, behind the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid, and now having the ability to afford a two-bedroom condominium in Toronto, aren’t the one cool issues about Matthews. Listed below are seven others.
1. His Mother and father Fell in Love at First Flight
Matthews’s mom, Ema, was a flight attendant from Hermosillo, Mexico when she met Brian Matthews, who was working for an airline in Los Angeles. The one language they shared on the time was that of affection, however he shortly brushed up on his Spanish and the 2 finally settled in San Francisco, the place Auston was born after older sister Alexandria.
The household moved to Scottsdale, Arizona when Auston was two months outdated and now dwell close to TPC Scottsdale, the house of the Waste Administration Phoenix Open. Auston’s youthful sister, Breyana, is without doubt one of the high teenage golfers within the state.
2. He Was a Catalyst for Youth Hockey in Pheonix
A dream youngster of commissioner Gary Bettman’s southern growth, Matthews went to his first Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes recreation together with his father and uncle Billy on the age of two and began enjoying 4 years later.
He discovered the sport at now-shuttered Ozzie Ice, a facility that was the showcase of oil magnate Dwayne Osadchuk’s new artificial ice know-how. The 2 rinks weren’t a lot larger than the proverbial telephone sales space he can now stickhandle in, and all video games have been three-on-three.
Auston Matthews, U.S. Nationwide Group Growth Program (Picture: Tom Sorensen)
The non-traditional apprenticeship didn’t hinder his development. At 15, Matthews had 55 targets and 100 factors in 48 video games for the AAA Arizona Bobcats earlier than turning into the U.S. Nationwide Group Growth Program’s first participant from Arizona. In 2014-15, he scored 55 targets and 117 factors to interrupt this system report set by Patrick Kane in 2005-06.
three. He Realized With Blades From Behind the Iron Curtain, through Mexico
Boris Dorozhenko fled Ukraine when it was a part of the Soviet Union and located himself in Mexico, serving to construct a fledgling nationwide hockey program. He met Brian Matthews at a hockey camp in Arizona when Auston was seven, the 2 talking Spanish to speak. Ultimately, Dorozhenko left Mexico and moved in with Brian’s dad and mom in Arizona whereas teaching a group run by ex-NHL participant Claude Lemieux.
Dorozhenko’s unorthodox power-skating drills included operating, stomping and spinning. Area operators hated it and fogeys have been confused, however the outcomes together with his younger pupil spoke for themselves. They traveled to worldwide tournaments collectively, with Auston sometimes enjoying for Ukrainian groups at Boris’ behest.
four. He Was Little Papi
Brian was a pitcher at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and hoped Auston would head down the identical basepath as he and his father. Auston’s nickname is “Papi,” after David Ortiz of the Boston Purple Sox, his favorite baseball participant rising up and the inspiration for sporting No. 34. Regardless that his father thought he was higher at baseball, the game was too gradual for Auston and he selected to deal with hockey.
“I used to be actually into baseball as a result of my dad and grandpop performed it rising up,” mentioned Matthews earlier than being drafted first total in 2016. “I actually loved hitting probably the most, and that was actually my robust go well with. I loved catching as properly. It’s type of totally different as a result of normally in hockey it’s dad who takes you to the pond, but it surely’s just a little totally different coming from Arizona. My dad (Brian) performed baseball in faculty. I did get pleasure from baseball, and it was definitely one thing I appreciated to play, however hockey would turn into my No. 1 ardour.”
Soccer additionally ran within the household; Auston’s great-grandfather coached at Muskogee Central Excessive College in Oklahoma and his uncle, Wes, performed 4 video games at huge receiver for the Miami Dolphins after getting a deferment from the Vietnam Warfare to affix the group.
5. He Was Additionally a Swiss Mister
Whereas the overwhelming majority of North American prospects find yourself at school or main junior hockey applications, Matthews took his skills to Switzerland to play for ZSC Lions of the Nationwide League A, the place Stanley Cup-winning coach Marc Crawford was on the helm.
Auston Matthews (Dominik Hew/doem.ch)
Simply two days shy of 2015 draft eligibility, Matthews selected to play the 2015-16 season with males in Europe as a substitute of with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, who owned his rights. Along with his older sister and mother in Zurich cooking him his favorite rooster tortilla soup, he had 24 targets and 46 factors in 36 video games for ZSC, the very best in league historical past for a participant beneath the age of 20. He received the league’s “Rising Star” honor and completed second in MVP voting.
6. He’s a Devoted Follower of Trend
Matthews picked up an eye fixed for vogue in Switzerland and counts actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder, his favorite NBA group, as fashion influences.
His first massive buy as knowledgeable athlete was a Rolex Submariner and his favorite manufacturers are Gucci, Off-White, Givenchy, and Louis Vuitton. For fragrances, he goes with Saint Laurent or Tom Ford. The high-end retailers on Toronto’s Mink Mile would possibly wish to keep open just a little later for him now that’s he’s signed a profitable extension.
7. He’s Toronto’s New Bringer of Rain
Matthews set a report with 4 targets in his NHL debut and hasn’t actually taken his foot off the fuel. Since getting into the league, he’s first in five-on-five targets and solely Alexander Ovechkin has extra targets per recreation (with a minimal of 100 video games performed).
Auston Matthews is the clear chief on this Maple Leafs group. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports activities)
Matthews ended the Maple Leafs’ Calder Trophy dry spell in 2017, which stretched again to Brit Selby in 1966, and has the potential to win the group’s first Hart Trophy since Ted Kennedy in 1955.
Now that Leafs Nation can cease worrying about Matthews decamping for the Arizona desert and the nice and cozy comforts of residence for the following 5 years, they will spend time dreaming of him ending that different group drought. , the one which began in 1967.