It started with an appreciation of a foreign country and an email to a college hockey coach when he was in seventh grade. Now, Camden, Maine, native Chase Matteo is wrapping up one of the most unique collegiate experiences for a New England hockey player.
Matteo is a senior at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, and a forward on Waseda’s men’s club hockey team. The program has been around since 1923, a year longer than the Boston Bruins, and yet, he is Waseda’s first foreign-born player and the only American in the entire league.
For Matteo, who was a four-year varsity player at Camden Hills High School, it’s been a unique experience — and a great one. “It is pretty surreal to now be a senior on the team,” Matteo said. “Four years seems like a lifetime, but in reality, it flies by. I remember having a conversation with a senior on my team days after arriving in Japan in August 2016: He said that he can’t believe he only had six months left to play and how fast it went by.
“Now that I’m in my last season, I’ve been trying my best to cherish all the moments, including the hard ones, because I know that before I know it, this incredible experience will be behind me.”