Matt's wish to meet Bo Horvat of the Vancouver Canucks

Matt may have needed three major coronary surgeries in the course of his young life, but make no mistake: he has a heart of gold.

When Matt was referred to Make-A-Wish, he made a decision that was mature beyond his years: he decided he wanted to skate with the Canucks, and share that wish with his friend Angus.

 “Matt was born with no divisions in the chambers of his heart,” Matt’s father, Russ, explained. The first surgery took place when Matt was two days old. His second surgery took place at ten months. The surgeries did the job, but there were still uncertain times.

“In grade one and two, I just started getting dizzy,” said Matt. “In grade three, I remember one day, I just complete fell.”

It was a great day, then, when Matt’s medical team finally decided he was stable enough to play ice hockey, the game that Matt says he was born with a love for.

Matt knew he would qualify for a wish many years ago, but didn’t show interest in pursuing it. That all changed because of what happened to Matt’s friend and teammate.  

It was while playing for his Mission Junior Hockey Association team with his friend, Angus, that Matt made his wish decision. Angus’ father, the team’s coach, passed away very suddenly. It was then that Matt looked at his own life, and decided not only did he want a wish, he wanted to share it with Angus.

And so, in March of 2017, when Matt walked through the doors of Rogers Arena to meet with Canucks rising star Bo Horvat, so did his friend Angus. The pair spent the morning meeting privately with Horvat as well as Canucks head coach Willie Desjardin, they had a locker room tour, watched practice, and finally, got to gear up and head out on the ice for themselves.

Horvat gave Matt some tips on how to fire shots at the crossbar, which Matt said was his favourite part of the day. “It was really nice being able to play with the Canucks,” said Matt.

“Even though I was there,” said Matt’s mom, Frances. “I didn't catch all the special moments that happened. The SMILES on Matt and Angus's faces made me shed tears! Thanks to everyone involved in making this happen.”