HIBBING — When Dylan Mattson finished his high-school hockey career, he wasn’t sure what direction to go.
Should he continue his hockey career? Should he find a job and work? Should he go to school?
Mattson eventually took one year off and worked at the Chet Tomassoni Arena in Chisholm, resurfacing the ice.
Mattson still skated in a men’s league to keep his skills sharp, but his hockey career was still in doubt.
One day, however, Mattson got the itch to play again, so he took the necessary steps to get back into hockey shape.
After one year in Alexandria in the NA3 Western Division, Mattson will now take his game to the University of Wisconsin-Stout to compete in Division III hockey.
After his year off, Mattson got back on the horse, calling the Alexandria coach to ask for a tryout.
He was given one, and he earned a spot on the team.
“I missed hockey,” Mattson said. “Taking that year off, I kind of regretted it. I wanted to get back into it.”
Which meant Mattson had to start working out again.
“In the offseason, when I decided to play, I was working out,” Mattson said. “I was going to the track (Cheever Field) with Jarrett Lee and Zach DeBoom. We all got together and it was fun.”
In Alexandria, Mattson said he had a good season.
“I was slow off the bat, getting my feet around myself, then I picked it up in the second half,” Mattson said. “I did play well in the playoffs, which helped me a lot on getting to Stout.”
As junior hockey goes, Mattson said it was a lot more physical than high school, but the competition was good.
“There’s a lot of good teams in that division,” Mattson said. “As long as you play smart out there, you’ll be fine.”
Mattson finished his season with 33 points (12 goals), then he got a text at the beginning of May to take a visit at the school, which is located in Menominee.
Stout plays in the WIAC. Stevens Point won the DIII title last season
“I went for a visit, and they said they wanted me there,” Mattson said. “It’s a nice school, a nice area. I accepted that. That made me feel accomplished in achieving one of my goals. My goal was to at least play DIII hockey, and I get that chance now. I’m grateful.”
Mattson took a break from working out after his season ended, but now he’s back it, working as hard as ever for the 2019-20 season.
“I’m getting back into doing some normal hockey things,” Mattson said.
As far as his schooling goes, Mattson was taking online courses through Hibbing Community College, so he won’t be too far behind in that area.
“Back in the classroom… That may be a little different,” Mattson said.