Iron Man Matt Harrington Signs Professional Minor Contract with the Pensacola Ice Flyers
Matt Harrington is the second Florida Eel Alumni to sign a Minor League Pro Contract this week. Matt Signs with the Pensacola Ice Flyers.
Matt Harrington started playing ice hockey as a young Mite in a small rink in Venice as a Shark. In fact it was the first rink to pen in South West Florida. In fact our own Clive at the Fort Myers Skatium who worked at the Venice rink taught young Matt how to ice skate and play hockey!
When JP Igloo opened up in Ellenton, Matt joined the Florida Eels program and remained an Eel through out his Squirt A and AA Peewee A and AA Bantam A AA AAA and Midget AAA playing years. He epitomizes loyalty and dedication to our Florida Eels program. His one of the hardest working young men you ever had the privilege to coach. He worked the Eels jersey with pride and distinction and represented our program so well. Like his older brother before him, (young Mike) he was an Eel through and though.
Over the years Matt earned numerous honors as a youth player earning spots on the Prestigious Team Florida Teams, Southeast District Development Camps, USA Hockey Select Teams, Hockey Night In Boston Teams, Chowder Cup Teams and has played in numerous National and International Festivals as well.
Matt and his teams have won numerous State and South East District Titles and on many of those teams he was named Team Captain. He did not receive those titles simply for status. No indeed he lead the teams on and off the ice.
Coach Scarpaci personally coached Matt on at least 5 of those teams and he describes Matt as a boy with enormous passion, determination and old fashion grit. He is extremely gifted at any position. Matt has nice soft hands. He not only can set his linemate up but he can put the puck in the net. He is a clutch guy who will get you the goal when you need it. No matter where I asked him to play he did the job. He will never quit on you. I mean never. No matter what the score is. He plays 100% from the drop of the puck until the buzzer blows at the end.
Several years ago while playing for my Tier I Midget AAA team coach Scarpaci invited scouts from the New England area to come watch his team. There were 3 Junior teams that wanted him. One form Philadelphia one from New Hampshire and one from Walpole. But Walpole won the sweepstakes. It was there Matt was scouted and discovered by Peter Ward who was at the time the Walpole Express Head Coach of the AJHL. Peter Ward is now one of the Coaches with the US NTPD program. The rest was history. Matt moved to play for the Walpole Team Junior A. At the time the Eels did not have a Junior Program. Matt went off to Walpole and became the team's MVP. Team Captain and won numerous Team and League awards.
Matt entertained numerous college offers and opportunities as well as going to Europe to play professional hockey. We are so glad Matt will remain close to home so we can see him play and develop right here in Florida.
Despite Matt moving up North Matt remained an Eel. He comes back to the Fort Myers Skatium every spring and summer to help Coach Scrapaci with his players. Matt never forgot his roots. He not only works with our Juniors at preseason training camp but Matt also volunteers his time with our younger mites squirts and peewees. You will find Matt out there with these guys working on their skating stickhandling and passing. He gives back to the program that gave so much to him. This is his character and we wish him the best of luck.
Matt dad as you all know is Coach Mike Harrington. Coach Mike had coached for the Florida Eels for decades. Now retired. He is one of the founders of youth and adult hockey in the state of Florida (SAHOF). Coach Mike and Coach Frank Scarpaci were in fact amongst the original 10 volunteers to start USA Hockey in Florida. Congratulations Mike on Matt's accomplishments!