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California Kid Just Loves Having Fun

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs

Name: Matthew Nieto
Team: Boston University (NCAA)
Hometown: Long Beach, California
Position: Left Wing
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 175 lbs
2010-2011: 29 games, 5 goals, 4 assists, 10 PIMs
Final Central Scouting Ranking for N.A. Skaters: 43rd

Matthew Nieto is playing across the country from his hometown but his California attitude remains intact.

“I just go out there and try to have fun,” he said. “That’s what I am all about. I love playing the sport and if I make a mistake I don’t get down on myself. I just go to the bench and laugh about it. I love the game and I love being out there.”

Nieto came from anything but a hockey background. He started playing the game with his grandfather and used mini-sticks to bat around a ball.

“I started with those roller skates you have in your shoes. I used to wear those every day. Watching the Mighty Ducks when I was growing up was definitely an inspiration. I played road hockey and (inline) at the YMCA. I asked my mom at age 5, who makes more money, ice hockey players or roller hockey players? She said ice hockey players so I went to ice hockey and stuck with it.”

Despite hi s atypical start, skating ability is Nieto’s greatest gift and he seems destined to boost his statistics at BU.

“I’m an offensive player. Speed is my best asset but I think I am a reliable two-way offensive player.”

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