Boston College men’s hockey announced via Twitter on Tuesday that sophomore defenseman Michael Matheson will return to the University for his junior year. Matheson was drafted 23rd overall by the Florida Panthers in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. In two seasons at BC, the 6-foot-2, 189-pound defenseman has scored 46 points and logged 74 games on the blue line. On Wednesday, The Heights caught up with Matheson about his decision to return.
The Heights: Why did you decide to come back?
Matheson: I just thought that I’d benefit a lot from being able to spend another year here. I think that being able to come back and mature a little bit and be able to be coached again by Coach York, Coach Brown, Coach Ayers, and Coach McInnis would benefit me a lot. All those aspects with coming together and being able to really focus on my game and try to be in more of a leadership role, hopefully, would just let me mature and process through next year. At the end of the day, I just don’t think that there’s such a thing as leaving too late. Obviously there are extreme examples, but for myself, waiting another year would benefit me more than harm.
The Heights: I know you talked about improving and working with BC’s coaching staff, but were there any particular factors that kind of swayed your decision?
Matheson: Nothing in particular, completely. It was just the overall aspects that I mentioned, that all those together just made it seem like a better decision.
The Heights: Going into this year, it was widely assumed that you would leave after this year, did something change over the course of the year?
Matheson: Not really, I mean, it was a really tough decision. I was close to leaving. There was never a time in the year where I was like “Oh, okay I should be going,” or “No, I’m definitely gonna to stay back.” I was just focusing on the year and trying to get better and trying to focus completely on winning the National Championship. During the year it’s not really a thought in mind, but I just think that being able to come back for another year will benefit me in the long run in my career.
The Heights: Did the Panthers’ coaching uncertainty play a role at all?
Matheson: No, I made the decision before they had decided to fire their interim head coach Peter Horachek. That wasn’t playing much of a role. I tried to just focus on what would benefit me the most. It’s sometimes hard to kind of think selfishly like that. Hockey is a team game, so you always want to be thinking of what’s the best for the team, so it’s difficult to then turn around and strictly look at what would be best for yourself. But that’s what I tried to do, and I’m happy it’s decision that I made.
The Heights: How do you anticipate your role changing next year, and what are your goals for next year?
Matheson: Next year, we’re going to have a really, really young team. We had the young team this year, but we still had the older guys like Johnny [Gaudreau], Kevin [Hayes], Bill [Arnold], Pat [Brown], and Isaac [MacLeod]. Those guys just were able to really lead us through things, but next year … the 10 freshmen will only be sophomores, and we’ll have a number of freshmen as well that will be playing key roles. I think that it will be important to try to set an example for those guys. And I think goals-you asked about goals, and I think for myself, just continuing to get better and work on simplifying my game. And then in the end-so it’s a team goal, obviously-even though we’re going to be young we still have high goals of winning trophies and getting back to the Frozen Four.