Welcome Matt

Talented And Tenacious, Matty Beniers Stays True To Himself And His Roots As He Continues To Make A Name For Himself

The name Matty Beniers has rung loud and proud through many arenas over the years, whether it’s the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., where he helped captain the U.S. National Team Development Program, Yost Arena on the campus of the University of Michigan, where he recorded 10 goals in his freshman debut, or on the international stage, where he helped the U.S. capture gold at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.


Wherever you’ve heard his name, behind the scenes there are numerous people, from coaches to family and even his teammates, who have helped shape Beniers into the player and person he is today.


“I was coached by my dad growing up for about 10 years before being coached by others like Peter Russo, Paul Cannata, Seth Appert and now Mel Pearson. They’ve all been great and all taught me different things,” Beniers said. 


“The east coast was a huge part of my development. My dad would always tell me that you’ve got to do it for yourself. As I got older, my coaches started focusing more on my hockey style and things I could work on like my shot or my skating.”


In a sport with such a strong focus on the team-first mentality, Beniers has been able to let his unique personality shine with a lot of help from his teammates along the way.


“I like to be fun and outgoing with the guys and I think they bring that out in me as well,” he said. “I feel really comfortable around a lot of the teams I’ve played on and that allows me be myself and have fun. I think a lot of the guys feed off that and like to have fun with me. They go hand-in-hand and you’re so close with everyone on your team that you can just be yourself.”


Of those who have played alongside Beniers, his Team USA and University of Michigan teammate Johnny Beecher has seen firsthand the type of person he is and the impacts he makes on those around him.

“When I talk about him with other people, the biggest thing that comes to mind is how hard he works whether it’s on the ice or off the ice,” Beecher said. “He’s extremely dedicated in school, has amazing grades and anyone that watches him play knows his strength is how hard he works. He’s always got the motor working which is pretty special to see.”


To say Beniers’ journey so far has been unusual would be an understatement. At just 15, Beniers and his mother moved from their hometown of Hingham, Mass., to Plymouth, Mich., so that he could play with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.


After two years in the program, the plan was to return home so he could attend Harvard University, which is located 20 miles from his family’s home. Amid coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of the Ivy League season, he found his home in Ann Arbor. All the same, this journey would not have been possible without his parent’s endless support.


“It was definitely a team effort,” Beniers said. “They’ve made this whole experience kind of fly by and be one of the best of my life so far.”


The appreciation Beniers has for everyone who sacrificed, guided and encouraged him along the way goes beyond words, but the same can be said about the appreciation others have for him. Time and time again he has inspired others to become the best version of themselves as well.


“It goes back to his work ethic – it’s contagious. You see him go up and down the ice for 60 minutes and it’s almost like he never gets tired out there. It pushes you to be better, even try to get in better shape so you can keep up with him at the end of practice,” Beecher said. 


“He’s an amazing teammate and we were lucky to get him here at Michigan. He’s made a huge impact on us this year. I loved playing with him at USA for that little time that we had and I’m looking forward to see how he continues to develop and grow.”


When Beniers and the rest of the 2020 Under-18 Men’s National Team were stripped of the opportunity to play at the IIHF U18 Men’s World Championship due to Covid-19, it was then he fully understood the privilege it was to come to the rink and compete every single day.


“Every time you step out on the ice you get a chance to win, whether it’s in a practice or a game there’s just always something you can be keeping score,” said Beniers, who has seen his stock continue to rise ahead of this summer’s NHL Draft. “It’s just excitement, happy to be out there and especially this year just grateful that you get the chance to be on the ice because not everyone does.”


With every new milestone notched into his career, the overall journey continues to become that much more memorable. Specifically, for Beniers, in line with the comraderie between his coaches, family and teammates, the time he has spent sporting the USA jersey has influenced his life exceptionally. 


“It’s probably been one of the biggest impacts on my hockey career so far. I played two years at the NTDP and developed so much as person just being away from home and growing up a little earlier than some people do,” Beniers stated. 


“As a player, it’s been an honor to wear that USA crest every time I’ve been able to. Being able to wear USA again at World Juniors was such a special experience and being able to win for our country was just awesome.”


Sidney Binger is the 2020-22 Brian Fishman fellow.

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