Everyone has to adjust their schedules these days due to COVID-19, whether it be at work, at home, at school, socially and of course with sports related activities.
But despite all of this, brothers Denton and Maddux Mateychuk from Dominion City, who just happen to be two of the top prospects in their respective sports in the province, if not the country, continue to train at home at Dominion City.
Maddux, 17, is being heralded as one of the leading pitching prospects in the country, and has drawn interest from several Major League Baseball teams.
Denton, 15, who turns 16 in July, is expected to crack the line-up of the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors this coming season.
And at the family compound at Dominion City, the athletic duo, who also have three younger siblings, just keep on training during this COVID uncertainty, preparing for the day, like everyone else, when life can return to some kind of normalcy.
Meanwhile, on the large yard at home, they have everything they need for their training. There’s a pitcher’s mound, batting cage, synthetic ice surface, basketball hoop, etc., not to mention the fully outfitted and equipped workout room which was built on top of a garage.
During these days, they are finishing their online school work, gently nudged on by their parents Keela and Jason, who both happen to be teachers at nearby Roseau Valley School. Jason Mateychuk is also the principal at the school.
Athletics run deep in this family, and for Denton and Maddux, they are just carrying on in the family tradition, and perhaps taking it to the next level.
Maddux, at only 17, is a 6’3", 220 lb physical specimen that can throw a 93 mph fastball. This is major league stuff.
For the past two years he has been attending the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball in Alberta, and is just finishing up his grade 12 studies at home. The Academy includes some of the top baseball prospects in the country, including a pair of pitchers that were taken in the MLB draft last year.
That’s the path Maddux was headed towards until COVID-19 hit. As a result the MLB draft this year has been reduced to five rounds instead of the usual 40 rounds as they will not be drafting any high school age players. Mateychuk says he hopes to be drafted next year, when things hopefully return to normal.
For the past two years, he has been invited to participate in the Toronto Blue Jays T12 Baseball Academy at Rogers Centre, which includes all of the leading prospects in the country.
Just this spring, he spent 10 days in Florida with the Canadian Junior National Baseball Team, who went up against Major League Baseball teams in spring training. He was also scheduled to travel with the Junior Nationals to the Dominican Republic this month, but of course that was all cancelled.
Maddux is preparing to attend one of the top Junior Baseball Colleges in the U.S. in the coming year, the NCAA Division I Mineral Area College at Park Hills, Missouri, near St. Louis.
Meanwhile, younger brother Denton, wrapping up his grade 10 year at Roseau Valley, is a blue chip hockey prospect that will no doubt soon garner NHL attention, if he hasn’t already.
Strapping on his actual hockey skates on this cool May afternoon at the Mateychuk training facility, he practiced his stickhandling on a synthetic surface.
Denton, a defenceman, had 30 points, including 13 goals in only 30 games with the Manitoba ‘AAA’ Midget Hockey League’s Eastman Selects this past season. Keep in mind, he was only 15, playing against players two or three years older than him.
He was called up and played seven games with Moose Jaw last year, scoring his first goal in a game at Moose Jaw in December and was named the game’s first star.
He had a busy winter as he was also a member of Team Canada at the U16 Youth Olympic Games in Switzerland in January.
Denton was drafted in the First Round, 11th overall by the Warriors in the WHL bantam draft. Oddly enough he was never drafted in the MJHL draft.
Steinbach Pistons head coach Paul Dyck, says it’s not that he was overlooked by the MJHL, "it’s just that every team knew that he would likely go straight into the WHL."
"Denton is an elite player, talents like him don’t come along that often."