Grand Rapids’ Mattson Confident with Tough Decisions
North Dakota-Bound Senior Chose Thunderhawks Over USHL
It’s a choice many hockey players face. Play your senior season for your high school, or try your hand at junior hockey. Grand Rapids’ Mitchell Mattson chose the former.
“In my heart I knew that I wanted to come back and play for such a great town,” said Mattson when asked about the decision to return to Grand Rapids. “We have great fans and iI couldn’t ask for a better high school experience.”
Mattson finished last season, and started this season with the Bloomington Thunder of the United States Hockey League. He’ll be going back to Bloomington once rapids’ season ends.
“It’s more business–like there,” said Mattson of playing in the USHL. “You’ve got to mature a lot faster, you’re living with a different family. It’s a big jump, but it’s good, teaches you a lot of life skills.”
Those skills help prepare players for the on, and off–ice demands of college hockey. Mitchell signed his National Letter of Intent with the University of North Dakota in the fall. A school he’s had his heart set on from an early age.
“When I was younger I went there and I got to play in a tournament at ‘The Ralph’ (UND’s Ralph Engelstad Arena),” said Mattson. “I think that’s where I fell in love. (Grand Forks) kinda has the same feel as the town I live in now. I loved it overall.
Mitchell could arrive in Grand Forks as early as next fall, even without a full season in junior. It will be a tall order, but he knows what he needs to do to get there.
“Probably the biggest thing is strength, that’s probably the biggest difference from junior to college,” said Mattson. “Guys are a lot older, more mature.”
The way he’s handled these two tough decisions, Mitchell seems to have a head start on the maturity.