the Canadian Box Lacrosse league, in the hopes of competing for the coveted Minto Cup.
In just three seasons, senior Mark Matthews (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada) has proven to be one of the Pioneers’ most prolific scorers. His ability to change a team’s scouting report and score in the tiniest of spaces is what has made him one of the most dynamic offensive threats throughout the NCAA Division I ranks.
His talents and popularity exceed far beyond the realms of collegiate field lacrosse and into the game of box lacrosse. Each summer, Matthews has returned home to Canada to take part in the Canadian Box Lacrosse league, in the hopes of competing for the coveted Minto Cup.
A long-time player for the Whitby Warriors, Matthews won his first Minto Cup with the Warriors in the summer of 2010 and then followed it up with another Minto Cup this past summer. However, Matthews wasn’t with the Warriors this past summer.
Though Matthews has been with the Whitby Warriors, a Junior A lacrosse team in Whitby, Ontario, Canada since childhood, he was playing for the Coquitlam Adanacs (Coquitlam, BC, Canada) when they won the 2011 Minto Cup in a hard-fought win against the Orangeville Northman (Orangeville, Ontario, Canada).
Why was Matthews playing for the Adanacs instead of the Warriors? Matthews wanted it that way.
“It was my decision,” Matthews said. “I wanted to spend a summer out there and see what it was like so I asked Whitby if they would send me to Coquitlam. It was weird to leave the guys back at Whitby but it was a good experience and I’ll never regret it.”
Coquitlam was lucky to have a player with such an impressive career. In just three years at DU, Matthews has already become the Pioneers all-time points- getter in the programs’ NCAA Division I history.
The 6-foot-4-inch attackman was traveling across the country to play with a team he’d never met but it didn’t take long for him to bond with the new team. “At first it was kind of weird,” Matthews said. “I didn’t know anything about that league or that team. Everyone was real supportive though and helped me along. By the end of that year we were like a new family.”
The very next year Matthews was back with the Warriors when they won the 2011 Minto cup, this time against the Adanacs. It was a long rough road to the Minto Cup for the Warriors. “We went to two back-to-back series games sevens,” Matthews said. We ended up playing almost two-and-a-half full seasons with the regular season, the playoffs and then the Minto. It was tough.”
Admittedly having to play against his teammates from the previous year didn’t make things any better. Matthews described how hard it was for him to play against the guys he had lived with all summer. His old teammates in Coquitlam didn’t like the arrangement much either.
“I talk to the guys on the Coquitlam team all the time,” Matthews said. “Even a couple guys that were on my Whitby team became friends with them. We all became friends after the 2011 tournament.”
After such a difficult season, winning the 2011 Minto Cup was hugely rewarding, especially since it was Matthews’ last season in the Junior League. “It was fantastic,” Matthews said. “To graduate with the guys I grew up with my whole life and end our career in Junior with a win like that was great.”
Matthews is not the only Canadian student to play lacrosse here at DU. During his stint with Coquitlam, Matthews played alongside freshman teammate Wes Berg (New Westminster, BC, Canada).He also competed against junior Cameron Flint (Georgetown, Ontario) and sophomore Jeremy Noble (Orangeville, Ontario).
“I’ve played against Cameron and Jeremy my whole life,” Matthews said. “Both of those guys are great players. Every year it was a battle between us, and now it’s great to be on the same team.”
In his senior year, aside from working toward another successful season and a potential second-consecutive Final Four-berth, Matthews is thinking of the future and where he would possibly like to continue his playing career.
“Next summer I’m hoping to play the Major League out west again with some of the guys I played with in Coquitlam,” Matthews said. “Beyond that the plan is obviously to play as long as I can, and to play pro. I’d love to stay here to play but that all depends on where I get drafted.”