TOLEDO, Ohio – When defenseman Matt Register began the 2015-16 season, he was part of a rebranded Atlanta (formerly Gwinnett) Gladiators squad looking to rebound from two straight seasons without a postseason appearance. 40 games into his stint with Atlanta, Register found himself back with his first professional team, the Allen Americans, after they traded for the d-man on March 10, 2016.
The acquisition aided the Americans clinch their second Kelly Cup in as many years, as well as give the veteran defenseman his first pro title. Register then signed with the Colorado Eagles in the 2016 offseason, eventually helping the Eagles win two straight Kelly Cups en route to three championships in a row for the Calgary, Alberta native.
Now with the Toledo Walleye for 2018-19, Register looks to earn his fourth title in as many years. But first, he will participate for Team Hooks (one of two Toledo all-star squads) as his home team hosts the 2019 ECHL/CCM All-Star Classic on January 21. He will also take part in the Hardest Shot Competition in during game intermissions of the round robin style tournament.
The Sin Bin had the opportunity to get to know the man behind three consecutive Kelly Cup rings a little bit more before his go in the All-Star Classic.
At the start of your career, you started off in the CHL with Allen, Tulsa, and Arizona. What led you to jump to the ECHL in 2013 with Ontario?
I was kind of jumping around the Central League a little bit, and got put on waivers in Arizona for the third time, and didn’t really know where I was going to go. Thankfully enough, I got a call from the Ontario Reign needing a guy. I came in, made the most of my opportunity, and didn’t look back.
You’ve tended to stick more in the Western Conference markets in your career. What led you to sign with Toledo in the offseason?
Well, it’s an organization that gives you the opportunity to move up the ladder. That was one of the big things for me; I still want to play at the next level. Going back a couple years ago, playing in Toledo — the atmosphere and the building — that’s the kind of place that you want to play in, in front of those kind of passionate fans. Coming down later in the summer, it got tight, but that’s where I ended up.
Your former teammate in Colorado, Ben Storm, ended up in Toledo as well. Was he a factor in deciding to sign with the Walleye?
No, I didn’t even know he was coming here, to be honest. I don’t really look too much into the signings in the summer; I just worry about myself and my family.
Some of your accolades: four-time ECHL First All-Star Team, three-time ECHL Defenseman of the Year, three consecutive Kelly Cup Championships — one with Allen, two with Colorado — and one Kelly Cup MVP in 2017. What else would you like to achieve in your career?
Just going up the ladder, playing in the American Hockey League and being a full-time AHL player. Obviously, I still have the dream of playing in the National Hockey League. That’s definitely something I’m focusing on right now. I’m taking it day-by-day, and I’m determined to meet that goal; I’ve got high expectations for myself. I just want to come in, be a good teammate and good guy. Every shift I’m out there, I want to give it all for my team, the coaching staff, and the organization I play for. At the end of the day, the National Hockey League is still the goal, and it’s still in sight for me.
Who is one player, past or present, that you’d like to play with or against?
I’d probably say Chris Pronger. I kind of idolized him growing up, kind of wanted to roll my game around him, with a little less physicality. I would probably want to play with him.