Matt Kidney grew up in Middletown, N.J., where he played hockey until departing to Wilkes Barre in the NAHL. Kidney, who scored 47 points in 57 games last year, recently committed to Salve Regina.
Neutral Zone caught up with Kidney to talk about his youth hockey experience and more.
Neutral Zone: How and when did you start playing hockey?
Matt Kidney: My dad was the one that taught me about the game because he played growing up. My first travel team was the Red Bank Generals Squirt B.
NZ: What’s your earliest memory from playing hockey?
MK: Going to Lake Placid for a tournament every year.
NZ: What was your youth hockey experience like?
MK: It was awesome. I played for a few organizations that were really helpful in my development from the Red Bank Generals, New Jersey Titans, New Jersey Hitmen, North Jersey Avalanche, Wilkes Barre Knights and Cedar Rapids Roughriders.
NZ: Take us through the NCAA recruitment process. What other schools were you talking to and where did you visit?
MK: I talked to a lot of schools and I visited Endicott, Hobart, Geneseo, Trinity, Utica and Wisconsin River Falls.
NZ: What made you decide to commit to Salve Regina? What went into that decision for you and your family to know it was the right place?
MK: I felt that after coming off an incredible year that they did, along with having a really good education and location, that it was the one for me. I think talking with coach [Jeremiah] Klann I realized how much in the right direction he had the program going. My parents have gone to Newport, R.I. and love it there.
NZ: What are your best on-ice skills?
MK: I think my hockey sense. I think I have a really good vision of the ice and find myself in the right places.
NZ: What aspect of your game are you working on improving the most?
MK: Getting bigger faster and stronger
NZ: Is there a professional player you model your game after?
MK: Brock Boeser.
NZ: Who’s been the biggest influence in your hockey career?
MK: My parents. Seeing how hard they work everyday and translating that into a good work ethic on the ice.
NZ: What was the adjustment like for you to go from playing hockey in NJ your whole life and moving to Wilkes-Barre?
MK: Living on my own obviously. The family I lived with was great and they were so good to me over the past two years.
NZ: How did playing there help your development?
MK: I think the advice I got from coach [Tom] Kowal was always good advice. It was more of an off-ice thing where we became close and he would steer me in the right direction.
NZ: What’s the toughest challenge you’ve faced in hockey?
MK: The toughest challenge I’ve faced was going back to NAHL after stint in USHL. It was something that was tough and is tough to many others.
Photo credit: Hickling Images