Matt Cormier (‘01/Waltham, Mass.) has found a way to advance his hockey career from youth to junior and now College without leaving his home state.
After four years at the Rivers School, in Weston, just 10 minutes away from his hometown, Cormier moved on to the Junior Bruins in the National Collegiate Development in Marlborough, about a half hour from his doorstep.
Cormier still has plenty of hockey this season in front of him, but he recently locked up his next step, committing to attend and play hockey at Babson College which will leave him 15 minutes away from home cooking.
The 5’10 forward couldn’t be happier as he is fulfilling all the ambitions he has had in his academic and hockey career since he started playing the game.
“I have always been with the Bruins and a big fan of the organization,” said Babson in an email interview. “I played on the ’01 Brick Team, along with many other tournaments growing up. I was hesitant to go (to other Tier 2 and Tier 1 junior leagues) without a college commitment, especially in a year where everything is so unclear because of COVID-19. The Bruins were a clear choice when wanting to stay local.”
Cormier has fit in well on the Bruins, collecting two goals and seven points through the team’s first 17 games and he made the varsity to Tier 2 junior jump look easy. He pointed to the competition level and a chance to play his own style on the ice as the biggest hurdles.
“The biggest adjustment is the style of play for me,” said Cormier. “At Rivers, we played a strict system that everyone followed. Playing juniors, it is not as strict of a system. There is more room to do what you want with the puck, more creativity.
“Also, the depth on the team is different. Every practice and every game is a competition against not only the other team but also your own teammates to stay in the lineup or work your way up.”
It’s nice to collect wins and points, but Cormier says he takes pride in leading by example whenever he is on the ice.
“I try to be a guy on the team who other kids look up to and who my coach and other teammates can trust,” said Cormier. I bring a positive attitude to the rink everyday both for practices and games.”
The hard work has paid off this season for Cormier.
“Recently, I think Coach (Mike) Anderson has been developing more trust in me as I have been playing more minutes and getting significant penalty kill time,” said the forward. “My goal is to be one of the best two-way forwards. Someone who can put the puck in the net and make plays, along with being solid in the d-zone and keeping the puck out of our own net.”
The next step for Cormier will begin in the fall when he starts at Babson College. Like so many of the NCDC players, hockey was only part of the equation in selecting a school to attend.
“I’ve always been interested in Babson. It had everything I wanted when looking at colleges,” summed up Cormier. “I wanted to major in business, stay close to home, get a great education, and play competitive college hockey. Babson has so much to offer and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to attend.”
The best thing about making a college commitment early is being able to focus on the challenge ahead and the Junior Bruins make the trip to Hub City, Tampa in the New Year locked into an intense battle among the top teams in the NCDC’s North Division.
Playing a few extra games has helped the Bruins pad its lead atop the group but the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and Islanders Hockey Club lead a solid group of division rivals that will be lining up to get closer to the Bruins in Florida.
Cormier was excited to get on with the second half, speaking in late December.
“Everyone on the team is excited to go to Tampa,” said Cormier. “This year has been crazy with all of the restrictions regarding who we do and do not get to play up in New England. All the guys are more than prepared to face teams like the Rockets, Hitmen, Monarchs, and more teams we haven’t played much.
“We all know there is going to be adversity faced down in the Hub City, but nothing we can’t handle.”
The USPHL congratulates Matt Cormier, his family, the Boston Junior Bruins and Babson College for his commitment.