From Camden to Tokyo

Creating his own path, Chase Matteo living his ice hockey dream in Japan

Mon, 12/31/2018 - 4:30am

TOKYO — For nearly as long as he can remember, Camden native Chase Matteo has been fascinated by the Japanese culture since devoting hours into learning about ice hockey’s presence across the world. 

Upon further research with his friend group, Matteo fell more in love with the prospect of living in Japan and dove even further into his research on how to study and play ice hockey in the East Asian country. 

Through his extensive ice hockey research a few years before his high school graduation, the 2016 Camden Hills graduate noticed many professional Japanese ice hockey players were graduates of Tokyo’s Waseda University. Matteo opted to email the team’s head coach, who spoke English, and inquired about playing for the team down the road. The two kept in touch over the years, Matteo said, and by his senior year Matteo was sending in his college application to a university few in the Midcoast had heard of. 

Matteo has been playing ice hockey since a young age — nearly as long as he has possessed a fascination with Japan.

“When I was young I hated running in the hot summers playing soccer which most of my family played so I loved being inside a cold ice hockey rink,” he recalled. “I also really loved the physicality of the sport when I was young so I think those were the things that drew me into playing.”

On the ice, he believes it is important to enjoy the sport and recognize what he has accomplished in life through ice hockey. 

“My father always reminds me to have fun over anything else,” he said. “Additionally, my goal is to just try to take a couple steps forward every day and help my teammates get better by bringing intensity to the practices.”

Academically, Matteo stated he strives to learn and absorb all the information thrown at him as he believes it is imperative for students to truly learn what they are being taught, and not simply memorize the information for an exam and then erase it from their memory. 

Following his studies at Waseda, Matteo plans to begin his career in Japan before eventually returning to the United States. At some point, he hopes to experience New Zealand. 

Those interested in collegiate athletics should create their own unique path to achieve goals, Matteo says, and should remember to have fun, be a good teammate and not be embarrassed about your aspirations. 

“I also believe kids need to stay away from alcohol and drugs and realize not only is it hurting themselves but it is also being selfish in that it can hurt your team, and if your are an upperclassmen make sure the underclassmen know it's okay not to drink and smoke just because others are,” he said. 

From his time at Camden Hills, Matteo listed several favorite sports memories including post-goal celebrations and the family atmosphere the Windjammers ice hockey team created. 

In his free time, Matteo enjoys spending time with his close friends, listening to music and watching movies. Back in the Midcoast, he enjoys playing ice hockey, hiking, going to the beach and eating. 

Matteo considers the relationships formed with family and friends to be his greatest accomplishment to date and is motivated by the same group of people, though he noted he is particularly motivated by his sister. 

At Waseda, Matteo is producing a research paper focusing on the intersection between ice hockey and business as part of a two-year business thesis seminar. 

“It is pretty grassroots at the moment since I am only have way into my first semester of it, however I am working with my incredibly bright professor on it and and brainstorming different ideas,” Matteo commented about the project. “I would really like to include my experiences of being on a Japanese sports team in it somehow.”

Fittingly, Matteo’s favorite quote comes from Jim Carrey: “You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” 

Reach George Harvey and the sports department at: