After four years of junior hockey and being drafted by the LA Kings, Durham’s Matt Fillier had a decision to make; to focus more on hockey or to focus more on academics.
He chose the route as close to the middle of the road as possible by going to the University of New Brunswick to earn his education and continue to play hockey.
Three years later Fillier is happy with the choice and feels it has opened more doors than if he had decided to focus only on hockey after playing major junior.
“There was options there after junior and I could have played pro, but it would have been more towards the east coast league and beating around there,” he said. “I wasn’t too sure at the time of what I wanted to do and with the way UNB develops players now there’s definitely pro opportunities after school so I just wanted to play the safe side and get and education.”
Entering his fourth year with the team he has participated in the CIS University Cup twice, winning it once and has won two AUS titles with UNB. More importantly for him he plans on graduating next year with a degree in Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering.
Fillier says in the past few years he has noticed that as players have entered their final year with the team they have looked at options such as the ECHL or Europe to continue to play hockey. He says he isn’t sure what will happen this year with him.
“The door is wide open for me right now,” he said. “I’m up for anything and there’s a lot of work in the geomatics field right now so that’s a huge option, but if there’s a chance to play pro somewhere that will be looked at seriously as well and I’d consider it so long as I have my education.”
Growing up he played in the Pictou County Minor Hockey Association, with his final years as part of the Weeks Major Midgets team. He says that kids in the area have a great system in place to help them continue in hockey if they are driven.
“I was driven myself to get myself to where I am today,” he said. “Playing Pictou minor hockey I had great coaches all the way through the system and playing with the Weeks Midgets I was able to develop into a strong player. That program got me to where I am today.”