By Will McClaran
Worcester, Mass. – When you read a summary of the Worcester Sharks inaugural year, one name you will see many times is that of veteran winger Mathieu Darche.
Darche has been incredibly productive since dawning the Sharks sweater this season. On October 6th in Portland, the lefty scored the first goal in the History of the Sharks franchise and on October 14th in a re-match with Portland in front of a sold-out crowd at the DCU Center, he scored the first ever goal on home ice in the history of the club.
On December 22nd against Manchester, Darche recorded the first Hat Trick in the team’s history and pumped in two assists for a total of five points to obtain another Worcester Sharks record for most points in a game.
Over the first half on the season, he managed to light the lamp 25 times and record 24 assists - good for 49 points and a spot in the AHL scoring races top ten. With all the achievements, he continues to stay modest about his achievements this season.
“I was in the right places at the right times I guess,” said the 30-year old. “All of these achievements could have happened to any other guy on the ice that day. I may have been the first to score a goal and record a hat trick, but I definitely won’t be the last.”
Sharks Assistant General Manager Michael Mudd believes Darche stands out over his teammates this year because of the experience he brings to the locker room.
“Mathieu is a great leader with a lot of accomplishments under his belt,” said Mudd.
“He’s won a Calder Cup, played in the National Hockey League, and came out of McGill, which is one of the finestUuniversities in Canada.
“He isn’t worried about putting his body on the line and scores a lot of the tough goals around the net. He’s articulate and I believe that is why he has the respect of his teammates.” He added.
Sharks President and CEO Mike Lehr feels incredibly fortunate to have Darche wearing the teal sweater this season.
“It was a very conscious move to go after Mathieu in the off-season,” said Lehr. “He’s an incredible player, an incredible person both on and off the ice, and a tremendous leader. He is fortunate to be surrounded by other young talent on this team, but he has helped make them better at the same time.”
The veteran’s productivity did not go unnoticed, as he received his first career selection to the annual AHL All-Star Classic where he recorded two assists for the Canadian AHL All-Stars. The Montreal native also competed in the Skills Competition where he took part in the Rapid Fire, Pass and Shoot, and Shoot-Out competitions.
“It’s so appropriate to be able to say that Mathieu is the first All-Star in the history of this franchise,” added President Lehr.
For that, Darche is grateful.
“I guess I’ve been doing something right this year. It was an honor to represent the Sharks and Canada as well. There were other guys on this team that definitely deserved to be at the All-Star game too.”
Before turning Pro, Darche spent four years at McGill University where he tallied a 60+70=130 line. After his collegiate career he spent his first three seasons with the Syracuse Crunch, one year with the Milwaukee Admirals where he hoisted the Calder Cup, and one year with the Hershey Bears. The gritty left winger has also had brief stints with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Nashville Predators of the NHL.
In his six years in the American Hockey League, the All-Star has accumulated 152 goals, and 159 assists for a total of 311 points.
With a season as productive as this, don’t be surprised if the title “AHL Alum” is soon before Mathieu Darche’s name.
Catch Mathieu and the rest of the Worcester Sharks in AHL action the rest of this season as they try to capture the always competitive Atlantic Division crown. To get your tickets, call the Sharks offices at 508.929.0500. You can also catch all the action with play-by-play announcer Jamie Smock on the “Voice of the Sharks,” NewsTalk 580 WTAG.