Johnny Matz

Most sources say Johnny Matz was born in Omaha, Nebraska way back in 1891. The Society for International Hockey Research suggests he was actually born in Casper, Wyoming. Either way Johnny Matz was one of the earliest American born players in the National Hockey League.

Matz, who was raised and learned the game in Alberta, played one season with the Montreal Canadiens in 1924-25. He scored just two goals and 5 points in 30 games. Hints as to what type of player he was are very few and far between. Two sources refer to him as a colourful play.

At the age of 33 years he was hardly a rookie that season with the Habs. He had long played in Western Canada with several teams in Edmonton, most notably the WCHL Eskimos. He also played with the Saskatoon Shieks and Moose Jaw Maroons as well as stops in the British Columbia towns of Grand Forks and Rossland. He was always one of the top players on every Western team he played on.

Statistics are sketchy at times, leaving question marks as to whether Matz was even playing, especially pre-1920. We do know he enlisted with the Canadian military in 1918 to help in Canada's efforts in World War I.


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