This week we’re kicking off a new series where we look in-depth at the current Jr. Blues squad, and who better to start it out with than defenseman Matthew Hohl.
Originally from the St. Louis suburb of Fenton, Mo., Hohl was a longtime fixture on the AAA Blues throughout his youth hockey career. In his final youth season on the 18U Blues, the 6’3”, 180 lb right-hander scored two goals and added eight assists in the Tier I Elite League’s regular season. In addition, he has been a three-year starter at St. Louis University High, one of the area’s top high schools, whom he has led to three straight Challenge Cup finalist appearances.
Hohl cited the desire to play at a higher level while enjoying his senior year of high school as one of the main reasons he chose the Jr. Blues. “It’s high competition and [the NA3HL has] a direct line to the NAHL, it’s honestly the best option in St. Louis. The hours are good as well, with late-night practices and two off days a week so you can work out or do homework on your own.”
After one weekend of games at Peoria, Hohl has yet to crack the scoresheet but remains confident and ready for this weekend’s trip to Wisconsin. “We’re playing pretty solid defensively, especially bouncing back like we did after losing 5-2. But there’s still a lot to work on, and I feel like we’re gonna be able to put together things we’ve learned from games and practices against Wisconsin.”
While Matthew is not without old friends on the Jr. Blues (like former AAA teammates Ben Jones and Mark Capkovic, and fellow SLUH student Jack Hazelton), he believes one of the most exciting things about being a Jr. Blue is playing with other young men from around the nation and world: “Meeting them and hearing their stories, where they’re from, and seeing slowly as we start to gel as a team is really cool.”
Jr. Blues coach Chris Flaugher adds that “we are excited to have Matthew in our program. He’s a talented young player that has the urge and desire to take his game to the next level. We feel Matthew has the dedication and commitment that will pave his way to higher levels of hockey.”