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Matias Maccelli: 'I Just Have to Have Fun and Work Hard'

Development camp update with Coyotes 2019 fourth-round pick

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

Hockey season is unofficially, officially underway with the start of 2021 prospect development camp at Gila River Arena. Thirty-four players are attending the camp, which runs September 9-13 and is capped off with an intrasquad scrimmage Monday, 6 p.m.

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Matias Maccelli, 20, a product of the 2019 draft, is participating in his second Coyotes development camp.

Maccelli, selected by the Coyotes in that fourth round, recorded 15 goals and 39 points last season, his second playing for Ilves Tampere of the Finnish Elite League.

"I (arrived) two and a half weeks ago," Maccelli said. "We were training at Exos and skating in Scottsdale before camp began, so it's been a really good last couple of weeks. Things (are) rolling with development camp.

"It's been fun. There was a long break (for me), like four months, and coming back to Arizona, the practices have been really good. I'm really excited (for the year ahead)."

Maccelli could have an extended stay in Arizona this season. He is a solid candidate for a spot on the Tucson Roadrunners roster. 

Though Macceli, a Turku, Finland native, is more than 5,000 miles away from home, the young forward enjoys some familiarity. 

"I knew a couple of guys here from before," he said. "I knew (Liam Kirk) and (Ty) Emberson from the (2019 development camp) here. I played with (Barrett) Hayton. I've hung out with him a little bit. He was with me and Finland last year. I'm really good friends with him. We went golfing and got some dinner." 

The following Q&A is from a one-on-one with Maccelli during development camp:

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Have you set a goal for yourself this year?

"Well, I didn't come all the way here just to go to the AHL. I want to fight for a spot in the NHL. But it wouldn't hurt me to play a season in the AHL."

What is your other big interest outside of hockey?

"During the season there's not too much time (to focus on other things). Just hanging out with family and friends when I can. In the summertime, I love to golf. I'm a big golf guy. I played a little soccer growing up, and now it's just hockey and golf." 

If you were to play another sport, what would it be, and what position? 

"I mean, right now, I would probably say golf. I just love the game. It's frustrating, mostly, all the time. When you have a good day, you can still improve, and when you have a bad day, you feel so bad that night. But the next day you want to play again."

Do you look up to any past or present athletes? 

"There are a couple of Finnish guys I look up to who played in the NHL: Teemu Selanne and (Saku) Koivu -- he's from my hometown, too. They're really good players." 

What is the best piece of advice you've received?

"That's a tough one. I guess, it's just do everything you can, because you don't want to think (back) about the opportunities you had after a couple years pass by."

Before you step on the ice, how do you do to prepare? 

"For me, it's mental. I need to be loose. I can't be thinking too much. If I'm thinking too much, then nothing is going my way. I just have to have fun and work hard."

What do you like most about Arizona?

"It's a little different than Finland, for sure. I love the weather (here). I actually really like it. Some guys hate it because it's too hot, but I just take it all in." 

Can you describe your playing style? 

"I see myself as more of an offensive player who can make plays and score goals. I do my part in the defensive zone, too."

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