Matt Cameron grew up in Berwyn, PA, however his parents hail from Canada and have a deep appreciation for hockey so at the age of five Matt found himself on skates. He played his youth hockey with the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers until pewee major. After years of being coached by his father, Matt and his family decided it would be best for his development to play for different coaches so he made the move to the Little Flyers organization. He played there for two seasons before being recruited by the Little Caesars where he moved to Michigan and billeted for his Bantam Major season. That experience got him noticed by Bobby Gauthier who coached him with Hockey Essentials in the summer creating an opportunity to play for NJ Avalanche U16 coach Vinny Smith where he has played there ever since.
“When the opportunity came up for me to play for the Little Caesars I thought it would be great for my development to challenge myself and play in the HPHL,” remembers Cameron. “I really enjoyed playing in Detroit, but when the opportunity came up to play for Vinny Smith and be closer to home I couldn’t pass it up. All the experiences I have had playing for different teams and different coaches has really helped me develop into the player I am today.”
Although he has played for a lot of different organizations, the Avalanche hold a special place in his heart.
“The experience with the Avalanche has been phenomenal. Vinny is a great coach and he attracts amazing players. My game has developed a lot here; the coaching staff really pushes us to be the best we can be every day.”
Despite coming off of a highly successful midget season with the Avalanche, he was passed up in the USHL Futures Draft; a moment that has given him plenty of motivation going into the spring. He did, however, hear his name called the following day at the USHL Entry Draft where he went in the fifteenth round to Sioux Falls. He has since attended their training camp and hopes to play with them at some point in the future.
“I went to training camp at Sioux Falls this June. Getting to play against the older guys and the players they drafted was great. It showed me where I was and what I needed to work on to be able to play in the USHL. I’ve had some great feedback from the coaches and I really hope to play for them in the future.”
Cameron has had college interest since he was a Bantam, but it wasn’t until the Liberty Bell Games and Atlantic Development Camp where his recruitment began heating up. He was selected to represent the Atlantic District at the National Development Camp in Buffalo, NY for the second year in a row.
After the camp the college interest became campus visit invitations.
“I visited a number of schools after I got back from Buffalo, but after I visited RPI I knew that was where I wanted to play my college hockey. RPI was my first choice and when they offered me it didn’t take me long to accept.”
For many of the prospects we interview, they talk of how daunting and stressful the recruiting process is; but for Cameron he enjoyed it every step of the way and knew exactly where he wanted to go after his visit.
“The choice for me was easy once I visited RPI. I got along very well with the coaching staff, the hockey team is excellent, the facilities were amazing, and the academics are incredible. I loved the campus and I’m looking forward to being able to contribute when I get there.”
So what’s next for the rising star? He’ll return to the NJ Avalanche next season and sets his goals on winning a national championship. He then wants to pursue junior hockey and prepare himself for his career at RPI. While he has accomplished one of his biggest goals in achieving a D1 commitment, he shows no signs of letting up or taking his feet off the gas.
“I think it will be very easy to stay motivated because I still have a lot to prove as a hockey player and I want to be a major contributor through midget, junior, and college hockey. The National Development Camp was one of the best experiences of my life. Getting to play against the best players in the country was very special. It is a great challenge and it also allowed me the opportunity to meet players that I never would have if I didn’t attend.”
He was happy with his performance at the camp and our scouts agreed, ranking him among the Top 50 Forwards there.
Our scouts have followed him for the past few seasons and seen his game develop over time. He’s had to adapt to the speed of the game and the size of the players from Bantams to Midget and has improved his decision making and strength. However, regardless of what level he’s playing at, he’s always been able to find the back of the net, one of the better goal scorers in the country for his age. When asked how he would describe himself to the RPI faithful who haven’t seen him play:
“I am a power forward who works really hard. I think some of my best attributes is my hockey IQ and I am a goal scorer. I am also a playmaker who makes my teammates better.”
He understands that his speed and overall skating ability are his biggest challenges facing his game and will be working hard to improve in those areas.
He is the first player to commit to the class of 2019 for the Engineers.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/ Hickling Images