Duchene offers perspective on last decade
by Darren Lum
Published Jan. 14, 2019
It’s been more than 10 years since Matt Duchene was drafted third overall by the Colorado Avalanche, his favourite childhood hockey team, as an 18-year-old.
There’s been a lot of change since.
Duchene is now with his fourth NHL club, the Nashville Predators, is married and has become a father, which has provided perspective to the 28-year-old (turning 29 on Jan. 16).
“I think the biggest thing that’s changed for me, other than a much busier life at home, is I’m able to put into perspective what’s important day to day ... obviously there’s some big things that come into that like life and career goals but the smaller stuff is where I see the biggest difference in my perspective,” he wrote in an email. “For example, I used to reply to every email and text I got as soon as I got it because I wanted to be prompt to reply to people and probably a little bit of OCD in there as well, but now I put that stuff to the side until I have the head space for it and do it on my own time so I’m not missing out on the big things happening in front of me.”
Duchene, wife Ashley and son Beau David Newell, who turned one on Jan. 9, live a short drive away from the city.
The proud Haliburtonian calls Nashville a “little, big town.”
“It is very intertwined and personable and the lifestyle is amazing. We live 25 [minutes] south of the city and we have turkeys, deer and all kinds of other wildlife in our backyard all the time,” he wrote. “The country living and the southern hospitality reminds me a lot of home, which is a huge reason Ash and I wanted to live there for so long.”
There are two things the couple misses from the two previous places they lived: Ottawa and Denver.
One, being closer to family, which includes Ottawa for Duchene and Denver for Ashley. Two, the relatively short drive from Ottawa, which enabled Duchene to go to Haliburton twice a year.
“Other than that, it’s a 10 out of 10 for us,” he said, referring to living in Nashville.
Just a few weeks ago, Duchene played in his third NHL Winter Classic, the annual regular season outdoor hockey game hosted at a football or baseball stadium.
Although the Predators lost to the Dallas Stars, 4-2 at the Cotton Bowl Stadium on New Year’s Day, Duchene said it was a great experience, which happened with parents, wife and son watching.
“That was my third outdoor game and definitely the best one experience-wise yet. It’s for sure fun to play outside and be on such a big stage but it’s a totally different feeling game ... everything about it is weird, right down to how the ice feels. You definitely need to play in a couple before you know how to handle them,” he wrote.
Duchene finished with a goal, scoring his ninth of the season, and then assisted on the team’s other goal. As of Friday, Jan. 10, he has scored 10 goals and has 20 assists in 40 games played.
Asked about what advice he would give his 18-year-old self from the knowledge he has now about life and hockey, he wrote, “Ha ha, wow, I could probably write a 500-page book to myself full of advice at this point, but ... the biggest thing I would say is staying even keel is huge,” he wrote. “Nothing is ever as good or as bad as you think it is, so take what today gave you and prepare to either change it tomorrow or do it again.”