Friday, April 12, 2013


For this week's edition of the Brockport Stylus, managing editor Brandon Wood penned this article about Matt DeLuca's rise to the captaincy of the Golden Eagles...

Matt DeLuca remembers playing hockey in the driveway of his home in Skippack, just outside of Philadelphia, wearing his Flyers Eric Lindros jersey with a ‘C’ emblazoned on it. He remembers all the hard work he had to put in from that moment on to be where he is now: a junior defenseman on the Brockport Golden Eagles ice hockey team. All of that hard work is going to pay off with his own ‘C’ sewn into his jersey next season.

tweeted from his personal account April 1 about becoming the next captain for the Golden Eagles, writing “I couldn’t be more proud to be named the next Captain of #BrockportHockey. It’s all about the team and I have the best teammates in the world.”

Many current and former players have since reached out to him through social media to congratulate him and wish him luck in the position.

Early in his career, DeLuca played three seasons for the Philadelphia Junior Flyers before moving to Syracuse to play with the Syracuse Stars, another junior team. DeLuca said while playing for the Stars, he was being recruited by Brockport, Buffalo State, Fredonia and Utica College along with several colleges outside of New York.

But after he came to Brockport for its 2009 home opener against Morrisville State, a game the Golden Eagles won in overtime, he didn’t need to continue his search for where he would play hockey in college. He was going to become a Golden Eagle.

“I made the trip to watch the game and I fell in love with the whole atmosphere,” DeLuca said. “As soon as I left Tuttle North after the game I came out to see I said, ‘I’m coming here, there’s no way I’m not coming here.’”

said his freshman year was tough for him, as Brockport was winless through its first 11 games and won only four games total that year. While some players pondered quitting the team, DeLuca never wavered in his drive to stay at Brockport and help rebuild the program.

“Somewhere along the line I felt like I was supposed to be here for one reason or another,” he said. “I feel like the stars are finally starting to line up. Freshman year was a tough year, a lot of guys were thinking about leaving and I made the decision to stay here and that I was going to turn this program around. I feel like I have finally been given the opportunity.”

His opportunity now includes mentoring a young team that had 14 freshmen this past season and has seven players committed to begin playing at Brockport in the fall, according to DeLuca said he wants to make all of the new members feel like they’re part of Brockport hockey, just like his predecessor Mike Hayward did. Hayward, a former defenseman, is graduating this year.

"When it boils down to it Matt is a vocal guy,” Head Coach Brian Dickinson said of his decision to make DeLuca captain. “Moving forward, we need somebody who is going to take charge of the locker room and really take charge of the details in the offseason and keep everybody working and we think Matt can do that.”

Throughout his three-season career at Brockport, DeLuca has four goals and 12 assists. Despite having played in 72 games, he has never played in a SUNYAC playoff game. The last time the Golden Eagles made the playoffs was back in 2010, the season DeLuca came to watch the Morrisville game.

When practice starts in the fall, not a single player in the locker room will have played in the SUNYAC playoffs. That’s the main thing DeLuca said is his goal.

“Flat out, make the playoffs,” he said.

“After three seasons that I’ve been here, not making the playoffs makes for a long offseason and it’s something that you think about for seven or eight months,” he said.

DeLuca said he is honored to be the captain of the team for his final season of NCAA eligibility, but his legacy could be defined on whether he can lead this team back to the SUNYAC playoffs, which would be his biggest honor of all.