As Matt Vinc, walked down the hallway into the Montreal Canadiens’ locker room, it was not the start of a tour, but a doorway back to his childhood. The 30-year-old goalie for the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League is an avid Canadiens fan and on Dec. 15, Vinc joined his Knighthawks teammates on a tour of the Canadians’ dressing room and weight facility. It was the second time Vinc had taken the tour, but the last time he was a youth hockey player and the Canadiens called the Forum their home.
“I am a diehard Montreal Canadiens fan. It’s one of those experiences I will never forget. It was the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Vinc. “To have that opportunity as a lacrosse player is a great memory I will cherish forever. It gave me goose bumps just walking around the arena knowing that a lot of the idols I looked up to played there.”
Later that evening, the Knighthawks played the Toronto Rock in the first NLL game played in Montreal since the 2002 season. Rochester rallied in the second half but fell short 14-10 at the Bell Centre. Vinc played into the fourth quarter before giving way to Jake Henhawk. It gave him the opportunity to play in the same building as his goaltending idol Patrick Roy.
Vinc admitted that his favorite Christmas gift ever was helmet of his idol given to him by his older brother Jason Vinc, who owns and operates VnopaintFX – Custom Graphic Design & Airbrushing.
“As a hockey goalie growing up, my brother got me a Patrick Roy road hockey helmet. He was seven years older and he painted it for me to look exactly like Patrick Roy’s helmet,” said Matt Vinc. “That was his start at painting my buckets. It’s one of those presents that I think I wore as long as I could.”
Vinc emulated the four-time Stanley Cup winner on and off the ice. He even sported the helmet at the dinner table when he sat down with his family, which presented some challenges.
“I remember it was tough to eat dinner with it on,” he said with a smile. “It’s one of those presents that I will never forget.”
The Knighthawks open the season in Everett, Wash. on Saturday, January 5th against the Washington Stealth. The game is the only one scheduled that weekend in the NLL.
“We want to go out there and show teams that we were for real last year,” said Vinc. “We will work hard every shift and are looking to defend our title. That all starts in Game 1.”Rybczynski currently works as the play-by-play broadcaster and Vice President of Communications for the National Lacrosse League’s Rochester Knighthawks. His role also includes managing the communications for the Rochester Americans hockey club and the Hamilton Nationals (MLL) media relations, as well as serving as Team USA's WILC media relations manager.
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