Trevor Robinson, a former Canora resident now living in Calgary, was thrilled and proud to find out on January 11 that his son Mathew (Mat), a defenseman, has been named to the 2018 Canadian Olympic Men’s Hockey Team.
He said Mat was very excited when he heard the good news, and is confident his skill as an offensive defenceman will be an asset to Team Canada.
“Mat was very happy to be chosen and feels great pride to be able to represent Canada.”
The elder Robinson said he is pleased that Mat is being rewarded for all his hard work.
As a young player, Robinson played his junior hockey for the Calgary Royals before moving on to a four-year college career with the University of Alaska Anchorage of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).
He has pursued his professional career in the KHL in Russia for the last five years, and is currently playing for the Red Army team in Moscow.
The Olympics are not that far away. Robinson and his Team Canada teammates will all meet in Riga, Latvia for a mini camp on January 28 and then head to the Olympics in South Korea. Canada’s first game at the Olympics is February 15 against Switzerland.
It’s quite likely that Mat inherited some of his interest in hockey from his father, who was born and raised in Canora, and played all his minor hockey here before moving to Calgary at the age of 20. Trevor said he has many fond memories of piling into the vehicle of someone’s parents with his teammates and heading off to games in neighbouring towns.
“I played minor hockey till junior B in Canora and then went to the SJHL (Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League) and played for Moose Jaw Canucks.”
Robinson said that in addition to the playing experience he gained in minor hockey, watching other players during that time helped him progress in his own game.
“There were a lot of good players who played in Canora like Tom Sokoloski, Harold Philipoff, Stan Gulutzan and Ron Matsalla just to name a few, so watching these guys and learning and playing with them was a great benefit.”
Matsalla went on to briefly play major junior hockey for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Canadian Hockey League (WCHL), now the Western Hockey League (WHL).
Gulutzan and Philipoff were regular players in the WCHL, Gulutzan for the Saskatoon Blades and Philipoff for New Westminster Bruins. Gulutzan and the Blades ended up facing Philipoff and the Bruins for the 1976 WCHL championship, with the Bruins coming out on top. Philipoff went on to play over 140 games in the NHL with the Atlanta (now Calgary) Flames and the Chicago Blackhawks.
These days Robinson is happy to follow his son’s hockey career. The Robinson family is planning to turn the 2018 Olympics into a real family affair. Making the trip to South Korea with Trevor and his wife Cindy, Mat’s wife Melanie and daughter Talia, and Mat’s older brother Jeremy.