THE MASK, THE CUP AND MONTREAL
12/23/12 9:38 PM
By Craig Rybczynski - As Matt Vinc walked down the hallway into the Montreal Canadiens’ locker room, it was not the start of a tour, but a doorway back his childhood. The 30-year-old goalie for the Rochester Knighthawks is an avid Canadiens fan has grown in Hamilton the longtime home of the NHL team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Vinc also plays for the hometown Hamilton Nationals of Major League Lacrosse.
On December 15th, Vinc joined his Knighthawks teammates on a tour of the Canadians’ dressing room and weight facility. It was the second time Vinc had taken the tour, but the last time he was a youth hockey player and the Canadiens called the Forum their home.
“I am a diehard Montreal Canadiens fan. It’s one of those experiences I will never forget. It was the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Vinc. “To have that opportunity as a lacrosse player is a great memory I will cherish forever. It gave me goose bumps just walking around the arena knowing that a lot of the idols I looked up to played there.”
Later that evening, the Knighthawks played the Toronto Rock in the first NLL game played in Montreal since the 2002 season. Rochester rallied in the second half but fell short 14-10 at the Bell Centre. Vinc played into the fourth quarter before giving way to Jake Henhawk. It gave him the opportunity to play in the same building as his goaltending idol Patrick Roy.
Vinc admitted that his favorite Christmas gift ever was helmet of his idol given to him by his older brother Jason Vinc, who owns and operates VnopaintFX - Custom Graphic Design & Airbrushing.
“As a hockey goalie growing up, my brother got me a Patrick Roy road hockey helmet. He was seven years older and he painted it for me to look exactly like Patrick Roy’s helmet,” said Matt Vinc. “That was his start at painting my buckets. It’s one of those presents that I think I wore as long as I could.”
Vinc emulated the four-time Stanley Cup winner on and off the ice. He even sported the helmet at the dinner table when he sat down with his family, which presented some challenges.
“I remember it was tough to eat dinner with it on,” he said with a smile. “It’s one of those presents that I will never forget.”
With Christmas just four days away, Vinc is not only shopping and preparing for the holiday season, but readying for the start of the 2013 NLL season. The two-time NLL Goalie of the Year enters his seventh season with the goal of helping the Knighthawks defend their World Championship. The Knighthawks open the season in Everett, Wash. on Saturday, January 5th against the Washington Stealth. The game is the only one scheduled that weekend in the NLL.
“We want to go out there and show teams that we were for real last year,” said Vinc. “We will work hard every shift and are looking to defend our title. That all starts in Game 1.”