Even though it’s early into 2013, there have already been a few things to celebrate in the Clune family.
First, older brother Rich was claimed by the Nashville Predators and has been living out his dream of returning to the NHL. Even better, on February 5th he scored his first goal, coming in a game against the St. Louis Blues.
The week prior, he made his return to Los Angeles, facing off against the franchise he had been part of for the last five years. While it was a weird feeling for the rugged 25-year old forward, Clune told MayorsManor that he had nothing to prove, but was thankful to many in the organization.
That same night, his younger brother Matt was making a little bit of his own hockey history – scoring his first professional goal as a member of the Kings’ ECHL affiliate in Ontario.
The shock wasn’t that it took him 43 games into his rookie season, but more that he scored at all. Known primarily as a stay-at-home defenseman – and his willingness to drop the gloves – Matt recorded only 14 goals total over four years at Holy Cross College, where he earned a double major in English and Psychology.
“But, I’m a full-time hockey player now,” Matt said. “I graduated last May, so thank God that’s over.”
Where his hockey career goes is still a mystery. But, unlike many players, he already has a back-up plan.
“Storytelling has always been a passion of mine,” he told MayorsManor. “So, I got involved with an alum from my school, Holy Cross, and there’s actually a hockey connection too. Howie Baldwin, who used to own the Pittsburgh Penguins, his wife Karen is a Holy Cross alum. I got involved with her, and just mentioned how I have ties to both hockey and film and storytelling, and a relationship just started going with them. My brother (younger brother, Ben) and I worked with them an a screen play and we’re trying to develop it right now.”
So, maybe someday part of that English degree will pay off.
Yet, how about that Psych part though, does that come in handy out on the ice?
“Well, Rich is a little more outgoing than me, to say the least,” he quipped. “You can’t really control him, if you’ve noticed. I’ve got a little bit of that in me too, but I’m a more reserved – a little bit more laid back and keep to myself. I can definitely get going with the best of them though. So, being a Psych major, I’m a little bit more observant. I’ll chirp in, or chip in, every now and then, but I’m not going to go 100% like Rich.”
There is at least one thing he’s picked up from both his brothers though, a love of baseball.
“My little brother Ben is actually a college baseball player,” said Matt. “So, over the years I’m slowly starting to get into it and stuff. One of our good family friends is Bruce Walton, he was the pitching coach in Toronto. So, my love for the Blue Jays has been growing the last few years.”
Oh no, not another believer in the Church of Doughty.
“I’ll tell you right now, I hate the Red Sox,” he continued. “I went to school in New England. But, Red Sox and Bruins fans, hate them. Hate them with a passion!”
Just when we thought Matt didn’t have that time-honored tradition of a Clune boy being able to run his mouth, some hatred poured out. Maybe we were on a roll now.
Plus, he has to have a good nickname, right?
“Cluner, probably,” Matt said, almost sheepishly.
Come on, that’s so un-original. Rich has been using that for years.
“I guess I haven’t established one yet.”
There’s still time, don’t worry.
Matt and the Reign have already qualified for the playoffs, so he’ll get his first taste of the ECHL post-season starting next month. But first, will be a trip to Staples Center later tonight – not as a player, but as a spectator.
He’ll be there to watch Rich and the Predators take on the Kings again.
Like a good student, he’ll be watching and observing – studying his big brother and all the guys playing hockey at the highest level possible.
Someday Matt might be there too.
If things don’t work out that way, he can always just write a movie about it.
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