Matt Trulsen, a well known goaltender in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, has made his mark at a junior college in North Dakota and is now looking at four-year programs.
Dakota College at Bottineau announced this week that Trulsen will be the student guest speaker at the college commencement ceremonies on May 14.
The netkeeper comes from a popular hockey family in Maple Ridge. They were thrust into the national spotlight by the untimely death of his brother Noah, who was killed after a fall while playing recreational men’s hockey in Langley in 2018. Noah was 22. Matthew was then 19, and they have an older brother Nick who was 25.
Noah would be proud of his little brother. Matt backstopped the Jacks to their first-ever appearance in the nationals, and while he was away at the tournament in Bismarck, got a call that he had been selected in a vote of the college faculty to speak at the commencement.
“I was a little surprised. That kind of came out of nowhere,” he said. “It’s a big honour.”
He is graduating with an associate of arts degree in business administration, and has been on the Dean’s List every semester. He has been a student ambassador, a participant in student leadership and a resident assistant. He also plays first base for the college ball team.
Trulsen played a trio of games with the Aldergrove Kodiaks as a prospect, then went on to play two seasons with the Mission City Outlaws, and split his third full season in 2018-2019 between the Outlaws and Port Moody Panthers.
He never got to play with his hometown team in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, because the Flames were set in goal. But he always loved coming to his hometown to play against them.
“That was always a sweet win,” he said. “Junior hockey is a business, and I had no hard feelings. I was more than happy in Mission – it was like a second home.”
He had a great first season at Dakota College, posting an impressive .934 save percentage in 20 games.
He was the starter both years, and they played in the championships in the American Collegiate Hockey Association second division for the first time this spring.
“The boys were really proud of that accomplishment, and I was too,” he said.
They didn’t advance, but won two of three. On the year, they had a 17-12-1 record.
He said the league was a nice step up in calibre, he has continued to develop as a goaltender, and now he is looking for the right fit – both academically and athletically – with a four year program. He is open to returning to Canada.
“I would love to play at the highest level possible for hockey or baseball.”
Matt said his family has felt a lot of love from Maple Ridge and from hockey people.
“The support there (in Maple Ridge), and the support of the hockey community in particular, has been overwhelming in a good way,” he said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without it. It’s been amazing.”
The ceremony will be streamed at YouTube.com/c/DakotaCollege.
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