By Sue Tiffin
Published Nov. 7 2017
The Duchenes are happy that Matt’s coming home.
The Haliburton-born NHL player left the ice mid-game as a Colorado Avalanche centre on Nov. 5 grabbed a rolling suitcase and left the arena for Ottawa when a much-anticipated trade was finalized.
“We are extremely excited for obvious reasons … close to home Christmas at home short drive to games and best of all a ‘class’ organization a great city and ‘Canadian proud’” wrote Vince Matt’s dad in an email to the Echo.
“We are all looking forward to a fresh start and couldn’t be more thrilled that it is with the Sens” wrote his mom Chris to the Echo. “We always wanted him to play in Canada this is just unbelievable and we couldn’t be happier and more proud of how he has handled himself over the last few months.”
Chris who grew up in nearby Cornwall where Matt’s grandparents live and his uncle Newell Brown played for the Royals said the family was happy that Matt and his wife Ashley and their dog Paisley were going to be closer to Haliburton.
She also looked back fondly on the experiences Matt had had since joining the Avalanche in 2009.
“We loved going to Colorado and had some amazing family time there that we will never forget” said Chris Duchene. “Watching Matt play hockey on his favourite childhood team was a highlight for Jess [Matt’s sister] Vince and I and we are grateful to the organization for giving him such an awesome experience.”
Leaving the Avalanche was not an easy decision for Matt who requested the trade last year from general manager Joe Sakic and said it was the hardest thing he’s had to do.
“You know there’s no such thing as a perfect human being but for me Joe Sakic is pretty darn close” he said in a press conference. “He’s a guy I looked up to my whole life. We had a great relationship the whole time we both had a tear in our eye yesterday. Favourite team as a kid and an honour to play there.”
Matt told media he had been expecting the trade which took place 1:59 minutes into a game against the New York Islanders.
“Last night was crazy” he said laughing. “I had an idea before the game that it might happen and I was kind of laughing with my agent and my parents and my wife. I was saying that I thought it was going to happen during the first period. Funny enough two shifts in I actually saw our trainer get the call down and I knew right away that that’s what it was. The coaches looked at me and kind of gave me the head nod so that was very strange. I tried to sneak off the ice but there was a camera right there so it kind of caught the whole thing.”
From the arena in Brooklyn he went right into practice the next morning with the Senators in Ottawa preparing for a trip to Sweden that will see him play with his new team against his former team this week.
“This is a pretty big whirlwind so I’m just trying to get my feet under me right now but the nice part is when you go out on the ice it’s just hockey” Matt told the media after the practice. “That’s what you get used to doing.”