Lee lands in Niagara
One of the newest members of the Niagara IceDogs is a world traveller.
Matthew Lee was born in St. Catharines, grew up in Fort Erie, then lived in China and Taiwan, and also moved to play hockey in Ottawa and Rochester.
“My dad’s job makes him move all around the world,” Lee said.
Lee spent two years in China when he was five and six years old and four years in Taiwan beginning when he was nine. When he returned to Canada, he suited up for the Fort Erie Meteors for two seasons and then the Southern Tier Admirals for one year.
“Whenever I came back, I found myself at same level as the AAA kids so I kept working hard overseas,” he said. “It was difficult. My parents were a huge help and we had a hockey set up (at home) and I would shoot pucks and go for runs every night.
“It was very limited ice — I only got one or two hours a week of ice — so I did a lot of off-ice stuff.”
That hard work paid off for Lee, who was selected in the ninth round (174th overall) by the IceDogs in the 2021 Ontario Priority Selection Saturday.
“It was awesome. Niagara is home so getting drafted by my hometown is even better than getting drafted in general,” said Lee, a 5-foot-9, 157-pound forward. “It was good. I talked to Billy Burke and the GM (Joey Burke) before so I was ready to see my name pop up and when it did, it was awesome.
“It was a dream come true.”
Lee was becoming nervous as the rounds ticked by.
“Everyone wants to be drafted early, but I wasn’t upset where I went. I was just anxious waiting to see my name pop up there.”
Lee said the dream to play at the OHL level began to crystallize when he was 13.
“I sat down with my parents and told them I wanted a hockey career,” he said.
At that point Lee moved to Ottawa where he attended the Canadian International Hockey Academy (CIHA) before COVID shut down sports. He then headed back to Taiwan for four months before getting an offer to play at Bishop Kearney in Rochester, N.Y., where he skated last season and is now residing.
“It was a great year and I’m going back next year — that’s the plan now until we see how things go moving forward,” he said.
Lee was following the draft on line and was glad to see some old friends get selected as well.
“I have a lot of buddies back home who went in the earlier rounds and I was sitting there watching,” he said.
Dear reader. If you liked this story or one of the 3,300 other stories found on our website, please consider hitting the Support Us button on the right-hand side of our home page and making a PayPal contribution to our website. Your support would be much appreciated. If you are a business owner, please consider advertising on our site. Our rates are reasonable and we provide plenty of exposure for your business. Contact email@example.com for more information.