~ SUPERU Player Profile Article by Jamie Neugebauer, image courtesy Marla Possberg
Scott Barney has been unafraid to put major faith in youth from the moment he took over as head coach and general manager of the Humboldt Broncos in 2018-2019; and now in Matthew Perkins, it appears he has another very young gem to rely on.
Perkins, 17, has enjoyed a meteoric rise, from starting the 2019-2020 campaign with the Prairie Storm U18 AA to now as an important piece of the high-powered Broncos’ attack.
“He has a really high hockey IQ,” Barney says, “and he plays with really good pace and good speed at the same time.
“He was such a pass-first player when he got to us, so we are just getting him to use his shot more and that’s really been paying off. We had a shortened camp in the spring, brought him back to main camp, and the way he competed with the older players, we knew he could fit into a role right away. Mistakes are part of the process but we like what we see, especially because he’s so coachable.”
The Balgonie, SK native made the jump to the loaded Moose Jaw Warriors U18 during that 19-20 season, there to play with Connor McGrath, another current elite young Broncos’ talent. While both of those campaigns were ruined by the Pandemic, Perkins’ play found him squarely on the radar of Barney, who had picked him in the third round of the 2019 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League draft, as someone who could contribute sooner rather than later.
That the 5-foot-11, 175-pound winger is contributing this fast is no surprise to the Humboldt bench boss.
“We are really excited to welcome Matthew to the Broncos,” Barney said in the official Broncos announcement of Perkins’ signing back on June 30.
“We have watched the growth in his game over the past few seasons and we feel he’s ready to step into our lineup. We see him as a gifted offensive player who has a great hockey IQ.”
Although Perkins was slated to attend training camp with the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors this off-season, he elected to keep the NCAA route open while maintaining a focus on helping out in Humboldt; and the maturity and production – seven goals and 14 points in 16 games at time of writing – he has shown thus far has yielded plenty of attention from south of the border.
“You have to remember he has only played 29 games of U18 AAA, but as I said he’s still really coachable,” Barney says.
“We knew what kind of player he was, so he’s developing well and getting a lot of attention and hoping he can get his scholarship sooner than later. He has high marks in school, and education is very important for him and his family, so we’re really happy to have him.