After spending parts of four seasons with the Strathmore Wheatland Kings, Langdon forward Matt Thomson has found a new home with the Airdrie Techmation Thunder.
Although he said it was a tough decision to leave his friends and teammates with the Kings, Thomson said this move was best for him and something he needed to do.
“I have a good chunk of friends on Airdrie and I was looking for a change, a different atmosphere…and less drama from living in the same place I play in,” Thomson said.
“I just want to play hockey.”
The 20-year-old has been a mainstay as a member of the Kings, becoming a point-per-game player and an experienced leader, but when a Nov. 18 on-ice altercation led to Thomson being suspended by his team, he said it was time to move on and asked for his release from Strathmore.
Following his release, Thomson was contacted by the Thunder to join the team for the remainder of the season.
Thomson said he and Thunder captain Clay Murray have been friends outside of hockey, which helped make the decision to join the team an easier one.
“The thing about Airdrie is, it makes you feel welcome as soon as you walk through the door. It’s like you had already been there for a while,” Thomson said.
The forward was granted his release Dec. 1, just minutes before the Thunder’s matchup with the Okotoks Bisons. Thomson was able to get to the game in time and made his Thunder debut that night, playing on the team’s top line alongside Murray and Rylan Plante-Crough.
Even though he didn’t get a chance to practice with the line, there was an immediate chemistry between the three, as Plante-Crough scored a pair of goals and Thomson earned an assist in his first game.
“I’ve never actually played with (Murray), but between him and Rylan, they have a ton of skill and make it really easy to step into that role,” Thomson said.
“In the past, plays I’m going to make were going to go in four out of 10 times, and with those two guys, plays are going to go in eight of 10 times.”
The forward followed up his debut game with an assist Dec. 3 in the Thunder’s 6-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Cubs.
In the past two seasons, Thomson has been a point-per-game player in the Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL), racking up a total of 63 points (35g, 28a) in 52 games and said he hopes to keep that pace as a member of the Thunder.
“I’ve played hockey (in Strathmore) since I was 13 years old. The friends I had on the team will be friends forever, but it was in my best interest to change it up a little,” Thomson said. “I’m 100 per cent positive it was definitely the right call on my end.
“It was a good decision, not just for myself, but to get into a team that knows how to win, wants to win and has an opportunity to win it all.”
With still another year of junior B eligibility, Thomson said he is hoping to make a lasting impact on the squad and be a key player as the team looks to win its first HJHL Championship in 18 seasons.