The following was written by Matt Lindblad ’14 following his National Hockey League debut with the Boston Bruins Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Lindblad has been with Providence of the America Hockey League nearly all season, skating in 44 games with eight goals and 15 assists.
Lindblad became the seventh former Dartmouth player to appear in an NHL game this season, which is the most by any ECAC Hockey program.
“I received a call Thursday night from management that I was getting called up to Boston. I had been called up twice before, however, both of which were to fill in for guys during practices over the Olympic Break when the team was low on numbers and needed bodies. I wasn’t told if I was going to play or not, but was encouraged to notify my family that there was a chance I could get in the next game Saturday afternoon.
The next morning I made the drive to Wilmington, Massachusetts, where we had an 11:30 a.m. skate at the Bruins practice rink. Because Boston had played the night before, the practice was optional, though a good number of guys still decided to go out for a bit. After practice, I checked into the hotel and took a quick nap. It wasn’t until around 5:00 p.m. that my family arrived, and once they were all settled in we went to dinner. After a quick bite to eat, I decided to head back early to the hotel in order to rest up for the next day.
I arrived at the TD Garden, as most would expect, feeling a little nervous, but more so excited. Though I was still unsure as to whether or not I would be playing that afternoon, it was a very moving feeling knowing that this could be my day. When I reached the locker room and saw that black and gold jersey in my locker, it was truly a dream come true. I sat there for what must have been an hour, just looking around the room and soaking in everything that was about to happen. After doing some of my pregame rituals to get myself ready, we went over video and special teams play with our coaches in order to make sure we were fully prepared.
From the time meetings ended to the time I got on the ice for warm-ups, I received a great amount of advice from the guys and our coaching staff. The message that stuck with me the most was to just relax and play my game. That I should play with confidence and to not overthink things. I can’t stress enough how helpful it was to have the support that I got from my teammates.
Before I knew it, we were getting called out to the ice. Going down the tunnel for warm-ups, I remember thinking this is finally it. All my hard work, all that I have sacrificed had finally paid off. Stepping onto the ice and hearing that crowd will be the single greatest memory of my life.”
- Matt Lindblad
Lindblad played on the Bruins’ fourth line on Saturday alongside Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell. The Winnetka, Ill., native logged 8:25 of ice time and played on Boston’s second penalty-kill unit. Following the game, Lindblad was reassigned to Providence where he scored 21 seconds into Sunday’s game against the Hartford Wolfpack.
Had a great experience this afternoon...dream come true. Want to thank my family and friends for all their support over the years #GoBruins— Matthew Lindblad (@mlindblad9) March 15, 2014
Photo Courtesy of the Boston Bruins