Young hockey player is on a mission
Mateo Saldivar is a 12-year-old student at the Starbuck Hockey Academy at Starbuck School.
“It’s loads of fun,” he said. “I have lots of friends there, too. The teachers and the coaches are great. The ice-times we get are a lot of fun. The practices are well thought-out and great for improving players.”
Mateo said he started playing hockey when he was just three or four.
“Hockey has always been my passion. Every day when I come into the rink I just love being there with the boys and having a great time,” he explained. “I play left wing. That is the position I have been playing most of my life. I like scoring goals, and I love feeding my teammates. Winger is the perfect position to be able to do both of those things. I like to mimic Johnny Gaudreau (of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL). He is a smaller player, like me. He is able to turn his small size into an advantage by playing really smart and playing fast. Speed is an important part of my game. I like to play at high speed and create chances.”
Mateo and his teammates are very active in the community, helping others. They were able to collect 65 pairs of boots for Warm Boots Winnipeg, and Mateo has always been involved in raising money and awareness for Terry Fox events.
“My mom always says to me be a good person first and a great hockey player second,” he said. “Hockey has been dealing with some bad news lately. with things away from the ice. I want to do things that help to make hockey and hockey players look good. It is fun to do things to help people and it gives our team a good chance to bond.”
Mateo lives in Charleswood with his mom Pam, his dad Juan, and twin sister Bella.
“I would not be where I am in my life right now without my parents,” he said. “Playing hockey is a privilege and not everyone has this privilege. I am very thankful to my parents for taking such good care of my and driving me to all my hockey events.”
Mateo is a young man on a mission: doing good in the community while chasing his hockey dreams.
“My ultimate dream is to make the NHL, but I have many mini-goals that I work towards every day. Those goals include making the next team I try out for, making Triple A, then the WHL, and if I work really hard, maybe the NHL.”
Mateo is a very thoughtful and well-spoken young man and has this to offer to young athletes:
“I would say to never give up. Keep believing in yourself. It’s not over till the last whistle. Keep with it and keep chasing your dream.”
Westwood's Sports Heroes
Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker Troy Westwood writes about Winnipeg’s unsung sports heroes every other week in the Canstar Community News weeklies.