Duchene driven by Olympic dream 0
NHLer Matt Duchene stands at the shoot out challenge during the Minden Flood Relief Golf Tournament at the Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre near Haliburton on Saturday, June 15. Duchene was recently invited to the orientation for the Olympic hockey team. DARREN LUM/HALIBURTON ECHO/QMI AGENCY
Haliburton’s Matt Duchene has a lot to play for this season.
Within five days this summer, Duchene was not only given a contract extension with his NHL team the Colorado Avalanche, but been invited to the orientation for the Olympic hockey team. He is honoured and motivated by the invite.
“The camp invite means a lot, making the Olympic team is a major goal of mine and this is the first step. I’m excited to get back on the ice to continue to prove I deserve to be in the conversation for the team. The guys who have the best starts to the season are going to give themselves the best shots at making it,” he wrote in a text message from Halifax.
Duchene is training with friend and NHL superstar Sidney Crosby. They are training under Andy O’Brien until September.
Although he acknowledges the difficulty of training, he reminds young hockey players about the obvious benefits to off-season training.
“It’s tough because pushing yourself isn’t fun and for the most part neither is training but for me I have seen the rewards on the ice of big effort and gains in the weight room and that’s what drives me. You’re basically making an investment into your future each time you improve in your training,” he said.
His achievements on the ice have been rewarded.
The orientation invitation announcement comes on the heels of the Avalanche signing the 22-year-old to a five-year contract extension worth $30 million (US).
Duchene has scored 193 points (82 goals and 111 assists) in 266 games for the Avs.
This extension is a sign Duchene will be part of the team’s long-term success.
A future that the Haliburtonian is excited to be part of since the hiring of former Avalanche players Joe Sakic, who is the executive vice-president of hockey operations and Patrick Roy, who is the new coach, both players he idolized as a kid.
“Having a chance to win a cup with those guys is something that is gonna be very special. Can’t wait,” he said.