The Sydney Ice Dogs are excited to announce the return of former import Matt Monaghan for the 2019 season. The 6'3" power forward debuted for the Ice Dogs in 2009, playing parts of 5 seasons and registering an impressive 51 goals and 33 assists in just 80 games.
When asked about the motivation to return to the Elite level in Australia, Monaghan was contemplative, saying, “A few different things brought me back to the Ice Dogs. For one, I’ve missed playing the game at a competitive level. This year my family is going to be away for a few months in Brazil, so I figured I would have the time to commit.”
(Photo by Wulos)
One of the key reasons he stepped away from the game in 2014 was his family commitments. Matt and his wife Fernanda have two kids; a son aged 4 and a daughter, 2. Monaghan knows that coming out of retirement will be a challenge at age 35, and his off-ice routine will be crucial for keeping up with the speed of the new AIHL.
“Certainly, recovery will be a challenge. I've watched a few games over the past few years, and the overall level of talent, top to bottom, on every team is a lot better.”
“ I'm under no illusions that it will take me a few games to adjust to just how fast it is now, but I've worked hard to get in shape, and I'm optimistic I can contribute to the team this season.”
Plenty of new faces will greet Monaghan when he returns to the Ice Dogs dressing room, but he has remained close with a number of his former teammates.
“Many of the guys I was close with are still here or are now involved in running the team,” says Monaghan. “The big difference is that all the guys are faster, bigger and have better shots than they did five years ago, well except for Manco, but that's just a lost cause at this point” laughed Monaghan.
Recruiting Monaghan, now an Australian Permanent Resident, was an easy decision for Coach Petrie who says of the returning player, “he’s a little older now, but he’s never stopped playing the game. You look at what a guy like Scott Corbett brought last year to the Melbourne Ice, and there’s every reason to think Matty can come back in and contribute.” Petrie continues; “Matt is still a fierce competitor, who battles hard for every puck and he’s a guy who loves to win. He’s been working hard away from the rink and is starting to see the rewards for that effort this past couple of weeks.”
Coach Petrie is impressed with Monaghan’s pre-season, saying, “having a senior guy who works as hard as he does is an excellent tool for any coach. When your senior guys are leading the way in preparation and compete-level, it lifts everyone.”
Monaghan is proud to call Australia home, and he and his family have established an expanding home base in Sydney.
“Believe it or not, we live on a horse farm about 40 minutes north of Sydney just next to the Northern Beaches so, as you can imagine, every day I come home, and my house is in absolute chaos. Most weekends you’ll find us at a park or a beach and just trying to enjoy living on the Northern Beaches.”
The 2019 Ice Dogs campaign gets under way on Saturday 20 April at the Macquarie Ice Rink, when they face off against cross-town rivals the Sydney Bears. The Sydney Battle is one of the most hotly contested match ups on the AIHL calendar with capacity crowds cheering on the Sydney Clubs.