Halifax hockey player looks to follow in dad's footsteps, play in NHL
Matthew Stienburg's journey to becoming an NHL draft pick has included battling serious health issues
As the old adage goes: like father, like son.
Halifax's Matthew Stienburg was recently selected by the Colorado Avalanche, more than three decades after his father Trevor Stienburg was drafted to the same team, under a different name.
"It's obviously really exciting. Heading into draft day, you don't really know what to expect," said Matthew Stienburg.
In 1984, his father was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques, which later moved to Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche.
Trevor Stienburg, a longtime Saint Mary's University men's hockey coach, said draft day was an "awesome surprise" for their family.
"It's Matt's story. I want it to keep on him. But it is kind of neat," he said. "And like I said to a couple other people, I hope he gets more games in than I did."
Matthew Stienburg's journey hasn't been without its hiccups. In his mid-teens, he dealt with serious bone infections in his shoulder and hip that kept him off the ice for months.
The junior Stienburg conceded that it was a tough time, but he bounced back.
"One thing I tried to do was stay around the rink and stay close to the guys and keep a routine. I think that was the main thing that helped me get through that," he said.
"I think I obviously learned a lot about myself and everything about hockey while I was gone and watching from the stands. I don't want to say it helped, but the last three years after were probably my best ones."
'Heavy lifting starts now'
Matthew Stienburg will be taking business and playing hockey at New York's Cornell University this fall.
"They offer a high-end hockey program and an Ivy League education, so that was the main reason I decided to go there," he said.
His father said although they've been celebrating, "the heavy lifting starts now."
"This is the starting line, not the finish line," he said. "School and hockey are his only priorities right now."
Matthew Stienburg, a six-foot-one forward, was selected with the first pick of the third round by the Avalanche, which was the 63rd pick overall.
He played two seasons for the Halifax McDonald's of the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League before moving on to St. Andrew's College in Ontario.
With files from Elizabeth Chiu