Kings grad Bodie signs NHL entry-level deal with New York Rangers
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - Submitted by BCHL Media
Fresh off a national title to cap his NCAA career, the next chapter in Mat Bodie’s hockey career is now unfolding as the Powell River Kings alum has signed with the New York Rangers.
Bodie had a goal and an assist in Union College’s 7-4 win Saturday over the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. The native of East St. Paul, Man. wound up with eight goals and 31 assists on the season and didn’t shift his focus to pro hockey until the season was done for good.
“I was completely focused on ending my career here on the right note” said Bodie. “It was a total team effort; once that was accomplished, signing that contract was a thrill. Hopefully there’s a lot more ahead.”
Bodie’s agent Brian Bartlett handled discussions with a few different NHL teams and the Rangers offered the most attractive option.
“They were definitely the best fit,” he said. “There were a couple teams that were a bit interested. The Rangers as a fit seemed to be the best one. I couldn’t be happier to join them.”
At the same time, it means the end of college hockey for Bodie. Despite playing all four years, he says it finished in a flash.
“It’s bittersweet – the best four years of my life,” said Bodie of his time at Union. “Every game is so intense, so much on the line.
“I can remember my first game and in the blink of an eye I’m playing in the championship game. People say it flies by and they’re not lying.”
There is a bit more campus life ahead for Bodie. He’s choosing to finish his studies before joining the Rangers organization.
“I’m going to graduate with an economics major,” said Bodie. “It’s important to me to finish. College is a great education and having that degree in my pocket will benefit me in the future.”
Playing college hockey at Union’s Schenectady, NY campus, Bodie has had the chance to get to Madison Square Garden the last couple of years so he’s already had a bit of a taste of what’s ahead.
“I’ve actually been to two Rangers games in my life, one last year and one this year,” said Bodie. “They’re pretty fun; the last one was against the Bruins and the building got loud. It was awesome.”
In order to play for the Blueshirts at MSG, Bodie says improving his responsibility in his own zone is crucial.
“I think I’ve matured; my hockey awareness and sense has gotten better,” he said. “I worked a lot on my shot and worked on my D-zone game. “To be responsible and play in my own end, I think that’s the biggest part.”
Bodie communicated with Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton and after he signed his name, there was an obvious phone call to make.
“My parents. It’s always been a dream of mine to tell them I’m going to be a professional hockey player and this is just another step in the right direction.”
A lot of the steps to this point have been made alongside fellow BCHL grads Dan Carr, Matt Hatch and Cole Ikkala who are also graduating the program.
“We got to campus together,” said Bodie. “We’d played each other a lot; I played against Hatch and Ikkala in playoffs. It’s been a great fit for all of us. The BCHL was a great league to get us all to this point.”
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