Defenseman Matt Greene is many things.
On the ice he’s a warrior. In the Kings’ locker room he’s a leader. Away from the rink he can be a bit sarcastic.
He can also be witty, funny…and even boring, by his own admission.
And he’s a bit secretive too.
We’ve had hundreds of conversations with him over the last few years, both on and off the record, and never once did his ‘real’ nickname ever come up.
Although many have just accepted ‘Greener’ as the go to standby, it’s worth digging deeper.
MayorsManor recently learned, that just like several of his teammates, he actually has a much better nickname than the one given most hockey players – where they just add an ‘IE’ or a ‘Y’ to the end of their name…or in his case, an ‘ER’ to the end.
Nope, Matt Greene’s real nickname is Hawk.
When we asked him about it, he went right for the kill shot too.
“Yeah, man. Who’d you hear this from? From Brownie?”
Getting an admission from Greene is usually much more difficult, so instantly we knew we were on to something.
Given his love for pro wrestling – remember, this is a guy who once tried to get custom wrestling boots made just to make his ‘Randy the Ram’ costume (the central character played by Mickey Rourke in the award winning movie ‘The Wrestler’) authentic…so, perhaps the name Hawk came from the popular Road Warriors tag team.
“No, it just came about my freshman year,” Greene said, referring to his time at the University of North Dakota.
Well that can’t be entirely true. A name like Hawk doesn’t just arrive on the scene out of thin air.
“I gave it to myself,” he stated with pride. “That’s the best (type of) nickname.”
Hold the phone. He self-glossed? You can’t do that.
It’s simply not allowed.
In fact, usually the worst nicknames are ones people come up with for themselves.
That said, Greene is one cool cat – making him one of the rare exceptions that probably could pull it off.
So, more backstory is needed here.
“We were a group of four freshman who came in and we were working on a job that required that we have radios. So we all thought that we needed handles,” Greene confidently explained. “We all needed names. So, the four of us came up with nicknames right then on our first day of school and they just kind of stuck.”
What? Jobs that required radios? He was supposed to be taking classes and playing hockey.
“We were doing janitorial work around the rink,” he said, going into a further explanation of the situation. “Maintenance services around the rink. It was just something to make money in the summer, you know?” And the hawk nickname stuck for all three years.”
So, what happened after that?
“It just lived on in infamy,” Greene remarked. “In Edmonton, I tried to fight the good fight, really tried to get it to catch on. But, we already had a Hork (Shawn Horcoff), so it was tough to get that one going.”
Then, just as everything was seemingly falling into place with this story, Drew Doughty got involved.
You see, he takes exception to a certain part of Greene’s narrative.
“I know a little bit about it,” said Doughty, when asked about the Hawk nickname. “I don’t know why, but no one really calls him that on this team. I think Brownie’s the only one. He told me the story on how it came up, but I don’t even remember it anymore. Something about him doing janitor work or something like that. He was on a walkie talkie and I don’t know. I don’t know the exact story.”
Next came the controversy.
“It was because he got in trouble or something,” said Doughty. “Mandatory janitor work, not voluntary.”
Oh really? So, it wasn’t just to earn some pocket money?
“I don’t believe that,” exclaimed Doughty. “I think he was getting punished for something!”
Like what Drew, what type of things would Greene possibly be in trouble for?
“I don’t know. Not doing his work in school? He claims to be this smart guy, this college guy. They’re all so smart and (they act like) us Canadian guys aren’t. But I think he was just not doing his work and not getting good grades.”
Like any good fight, we’re going to need an arbitrator here.
Who better than team captain Dustin Brown? After all, both guys have already mentioned his name.
“I would go with Greener’s story,” Brown stated with a thick smile. “Dewey shouldn’t comment on anything about school.”
Perhaps that’s a fair point.
Besides the endless teasing he gets from guys like Trevor Lewis (his roommate at home) and Brown (his former road roommate), there was a time – and not that long ago – when Doughty was the only defenseman on the Kings team who didn’t come from a U.S. college program.
“When was this?” Doughty asked.
Just a few years ago, like 2010.
“Yeah, that’s when we weren’t that good,” Doughty said with a big laugh.
The student bodies at Clarkson University (Willie Mitchell), Boston College (Rob Scuderi), Miami University (Alec Martinez), Wisconsin (Davis Drewiske) and Michigan (Jack Johnson) may take exception to that assertion.
For more on the nicknames of other players though, see the links below.
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