Matt Gaudreau chose to lead the Gloucester Catholic ice hockey program

The Gaudreau family has already given so much to the Gloucester Catholic ice hockey program.

Now they are ready to give more.

Matt Gaudreau, son of former coach Guy Gaudreau and himself a product of the program, was announced on Wednesday as the new head coach. He is the younger brother of Calgary Flames star Johnny Gaudreau, who also played for the Rams.

He replaces Tom Bunting, who resigned after five very successful years.

“Returning to the Gloucester Catholic is so special to me,” Gaudreau said in a press release. “I’ve been playing hockey my whole life, and the funniest thing I’ve ever had was playing for GC. The Gloucester Catholic has been so connected to my family – my father helped start the program and trained here for more than 10 years, my brother John and I played here, my sister Katie graduated from here, and recently we have been working on fundraisers for school with the Gaudreau Family Foundation, I feel this is my opportunity to give back a little of what the Gloucester Catholic has given me . “

Gaudreau was part of the Gloucester Catholic team that made the program’s first appearance in NJSIAA non-public state championship games in 2010. He accompanied his brother to Boston College, where he played for four years and led the team in points as a senior.

He spent five years playing professionally in the AHL and ECHL before continuing his professional career in Sweden. After his playing days ended, Gaudreau became the coach of the Philadelphia Hockey Club’s NCDC and Premier Junior teams from the Hollydell Ice Arena in Washington Township, which is the Rams’ home ground.

“I’m extremely excited to name Matty Gaudreau as the new ice hockey coach for Gloucester Catholic High School,” said Sports Director Ryan Meehan. “I think Matty will continue the legacy his father started and that Tom Bunting helped take another level. Our hockey program is already the best in South Jersey, but I think Matty will take our program. and make it one that is consistently the best in the state of New Jersey. “

The Gloucester Catholic won 9-10-1 this year in Bunting’s last season and reached the non-public semifinals for the fourth season in a row before losing to finalist Christian Brothers Academy.

With a host of young and inexperienced players in line, the Rams got off to a slow start, losing their first four games and five of their first six before straightening the ship.

“I thought in the end (we would get on track) because in the first seven games we never played to our full potential,” said Billy Stuski, who emerged as a star goalkeeper in his first season as a starter. “We knew it was going to happen soon and it could not have been worse than the first four games. It was all improvement from there, and when all the boys knew each other and built a good bond, we played well together.”

A 5-4 victory over Don Bosco Prep at home was a big boost to confidence.

“We had a lot of beginners, but I knew we would get together as a team eventually,” said junior forward Casey Johnson. “They got better at the conference and adapted, so I knew we would turn it around. Our turning point was when we beat Don Bosco at Hollydell. We never really had energy on the bench, but when that match came on our senior night, we won it for the seniors. That’s when we started to pick up speed. “

The talented junior class led the way. Striker Billy Sheridan had hold-highs of 11 goals and 16 assists, Johnson added nine goals and 10 assists, and striker Ryder Wicken had eight goals and eight assists. Mike Hoffner anchored the defense and scored three goals and 15 assists.

The highlight of the season came in the state quarterfinals when the Gloucester Catholic defeated the Bergen Catholic 5-2 and avenged a 5-4 loss in the first round of the Gordon Cup.

“When we lost in the Gordon Cup, we were a little shaken,” Hoffner said. “It was coach Tom’s last year and we wanted to make a good (playoff) race for him. So we went out there and gave everything and got the win against Bergen.

“I certainly felt we could have beaten (CBA) too, but sometimes it just does not go your way.”

The Gloucester Catholic actually first beat the CBA, the No. 1 team in the state, in the semifinals before the Colts rallied to a 3-2 victory.

“We got the early goal, which got everyone pumped and ready to go,” said Stuski, who was superb in the loss and finished with 38 saves. “It was an eventful match with a lot of turning points, penalties and power plays. I thought I played pretty well, but when I look back, I always think about what I could have done better if I could have done this or that differently and made one more save. I feel we have the ability to play with them and any team. “

The Rams have certainly the talent to run once again and fight for a state title in Gaudreau’s first year, but of course it’s always hard to keep a team together in hockey. Many of their players will definitely have other options to pursue elsewhere.

“If we all stay together, I think we can win it all next year, from Gordon to States,” Johnson said. “But I think a lot of kids go to boarding school. We also lost our coach and he was a big part of the team and the reason we got to where we were going. I want to go back, but I also have to do what is best for me. ”

“If our key juniors come back, we can definitely do something special next season,” Hoffner added. “It just depends entirely on who gets offers from where and where everyone ends up. I can see us in the state finals and the Gordon finals if everyone comes back. … But there are many different variables in it. “

Whatever the future holds, Gaudreau should have more elite players joining what has become one of the best programs in the state. And those who move on will leave with fond memories.

“From playing with my brother (Zach) until we reached the (Gordon Cup) championship last year, it was amazing,” Johnson said. “This was my favorite year, even though we started 0-4. We showed that we could come back from a 0-4 start, build up as a group and turn things around for the team. “

The NJ High School Sports newsletter is now published in mailboxes 5 days a week. Sign up now and be among the first to get all the boys ‘and girls’ sports you care about directly to your inbox every weekday. To add your name, click here.

Leave a Comment