Next stop for San Jose native Vernon: NCAA D-I Colorado College
Matt Vernon only lived in San Jose for two years – such is the life of a family in the NHL.
Vernon’s father, Mike, won Stanley Cups in 1989 (Calgary) and 1997 (Detroit). The younger Vernon was born in San Jose while Mike was playing for the Sharks.
This season, Vernon is lighting up the NAHL – as a goalie, like his father – with the Aberdeen Wings and recently committed to play at NCAA Division I Colorado College (NCHC) for the 2019-20 season.
“When a player is in a league like the NAHL and your team is successful, teams tend to watch,” said Vernon. “Winning games gets players noticed more than anything no matter what position you play. I know Coach (Scott) Langer and my advisor Brian Schnuriger have done a fantastic job reaching out to schools to get as many teams to watch as possible. Thankfully, CC took interest when they knew they needed to fill a spot.”
Vernon credited playing in the NAHL to pushing him to success.
“The right competition and high-level players in the NAHL make it tough to win every night,” Vernon said. “Aberdeen has been incredible from the support to the way we run everything day to day. We practice short and hard, lift Monday through Wednesday, and if you’re not taking courses, you have to work. I believe the day-to-day details will help make the transition a little bit easier.”
Of course, having an NHL father can certainly help as well.
“With my father last playing in the NHL more than 16 years ago, there are some things that have changed in the position that he can’t help out with as much,” said Vernon. “The technicality of the position has changed so much but I still keep an open mind to his suggestions. He has been a major help with the mental side of the game and giving me pointers on how to keep a level head and how to prepare to bring my ‘A’ game on a consistent basis.”
— Matt Mackinder
(March 8, 2019)