The road that Cheyenne Matus followed on her way to university hockey is one that many have taken before her. Competing in boys’ hockey, the feelings of resentment add to an uneasiness that is all too often, a sad yet character-building rite of passage.
While she competed in other sports, such as soccer and softball, the Friday Night Skate at the local armory had captivated her. Three years later, the experience of house league hockey and private lessons paid dividends as Matus became a budding star in the various Boys Leagues.
Reality would rear its ugly head once Matus became of high school age. Despite the fact that her skills were such that she was invited to compete in the high school spring league (before her freshman year was to begin), she found herself unfairly isolated and ostracized because she was the only girl competing.
Once summer became autumn and school bells filled the air, Matus had endured three difficult days of tryouts. Despite showing hard work and dedication, the 5:30 am tryout sessions yielded a negative result as Matus was not offered a roster spot. While her mother intervened, the coach offered a solution; participation in a girls travel league.
The alternative proved to be the remedy for Matus’ broken heart, restoring her confidence and rejuvenating her love for the game. Through the years of struggle, her efforts have culminated in a redeeming result. As Rowan University ices its first varsity women’s ice hockey team, Matus becomes its first recruit.
Based on the resiliency and character that she displayed through her battle for acceptance, it is symbolic of the type of touhgness that will be needed to place the new program in a positive direction. Setting the example through perseverance, it comes as no surprise that Matus has already been bestowed the hnor of being named an Alternate Captain. As her coach stated on Women’s Hockey Life, the A also stands for Ability, Attitude and Always (always saying yes to the game that told her no as a youth). These are three attributes that are bound to make Matus the on-ice leader that will define the program for the future.