RETP Cadet Sets His Sights on a Pro Hockey Career

25913 Matthew Pinder (RMC 2012) is spending the summer working with Bill Oliver and e-Veritas.  Matthew is a top player with the varsity hockey Paladins.  During a break from their hectic e-Veritas schedule both sat down and talked hockey. Matt shared his experiences over the past two years and what he hopes to accomplish in the future.

eV – Has there been a military history in your family? Any relatives serving in the military ?

I have one family member who served in the Canadian Forces. My paternal grandfather Herb Pinder served in the Royal Canadian Navy during WWII. He was an Officer who spent two years at sea mostly on the Destroyer HMS Akeppel. That ship is remembered as the destroyer that sunk one German ship and three U-Boats. He then spent a short time as the XO on a frigate and ended the war as the XO on the HMCS Qu’Appelle.

eV – I understand you have dual citizenship (Canadian / American) did you consider to apply to West Point?

I do possess both a Canadian and American passport and did consider the idea about possibly attending the USMA, but I never really contemplated seriously. During my junior career I had talked with numerous NCAA coaches about scholarship opportunities, but West Point was never one of them.

eV – What first got you interested in attending RMC and who is ultimately responsible for you attending RMC?

Varsity Hockey Coach Adam Shell was the initial contact with regards to my awareness of RMC. We spoke several times throughout the season prior to my arrival and I visited RMC on two different recruiting trips. The first visit was to reconnect with Eric Robb and Richard Lim who I had known from my youth in Calgary and the second visit I was accompanied by my father. After spending time at the Constantine Arena and the campus I knew that RMC was the right decision for my future.

eV- Would you have entered the military if you did not receive the opportunity to be a Reservist in I Year?

Since I was a young boy I always imagined the possibility of serving in the Canadian Forces. I had no plan or vision for when this might occur so if not for the opportunity provided by the hockey program I would not have been so soon.

eV – You switched from being a Reservist to the Reserve Entry training Program (RETP) following I Year. What motivated you to make this switch?

The decision was made after careful consideration of my short term and long term goals. As previously mentioned I always harbored the desire a member of the CF. Gaining acceptance into the RETP program gave me the opportunity to be commissioned as well as be apart of something no other university in Canada can offer. Observing the majority of my teammates as cadets during my first year and listening to them describe the day to day life it was easy to determine that although being an OCdt isn’t the easiest of life styles, it is very gratifying. The RETP program will also allow me the possibility to pursue professional hockey at the completion of my bachelor degree.

eV – How would you say RMC differs from say, Queen’s University or University of Calgary? Any similarities or no comparison?

It is difficult to compare RMC with other universities. I have good friends at Queens that I spend a lot of time with and their lifestyle compared to that of an Ocdt is not in the same ball park. I think there are pros and cons on both sides of the coin and one is not better than the other, it comes down to what the individual is looking for out of your university experience.

eV – To this stage of the game, you are entering III Year in September what is your greatest/best moment at RMC, whether it be athletic or academic, what really stands out so far?

I think I have two moments that stand out so far during my time here at RMC, both after joining the RETP program. Obviously if you ask any ex cadet who can remember their first month at the college, completing the obstacle course is a moment that very few will ever forget. Another moment that stands out more than the rest was being able to score the winning goal at home against Queens University in a shootout. That’s something that was pretty special for me simply because of the rivalry and the intensity of the Queens RMC games every year.

eV- If you had to go back and do anything different, what would it be or is there anything that you would change while at RMC?

Well I am not quite finished at RMC yet so I am sure when I march through the arch I will have a couple things I would have done differently. But if I were to change one thing right now there is a good chance I would have remembered to shave that morning I walked by WO Belanger and Maj. Parent.

eV- Going back, looking back at the start, now that you are starting III year and you have a good feel for this routine/regimen, would you have embarked on this journey without the inclusion of hockey? Would you have made the commitment if hockey was not an option?

Over the last 2 years I have grown exponentially as a person and I owe the majority of that to RMC. I have been very fortunate by being surrounded by great people here within my COC and peer group. Hockey has been my life for over 15 years and while I was playing junior my goal was to make the next step into college hockey, I am happy I am able to do that here at RMC.

eV – Being a RETP cadet you have a number of options following IV Year. You come from a family of professional hockey experience – do you still have a dream of playing professional hockey?

Playing pro hockey is my ultimate goal. My father played for Chicago Blackhawks and a number of other NHL teams in the 70s and 80s. He also won a bronze medal playing for Canada in the Olympics. I have a number of short and long range goals, representing Canada in this year’s World University Games is something I am doing everything in my power to achieve. Making this team would also help to further my career after graduation. I would love to make a career of hockey whether it be in North America or over in Europe, its something I have been working towards the majority of my life and if I am lucky enough to get the chance I will be taking full advantage.

eV – If professional hockey does not come your way at the end of IV Year, do you see yourself re-enlisting and becoming a career military officer or will you do something else in the end and if so, what will that be?

Right now I am just taking it one year at a time here. Obviously my goal is to sign a pro contract when I finish, but if that does not work out I will definitely reevaluate my direction. I have always wanted to be in the military and ultimately that’s why I came to RMC to play hockey. I also have ambitions to use the business degree I will (hopefully) have in the private sector. Investment banking and real estate development have both been something I have been interested in doing in the future, but right now my focus is on graduating and giving myself the opportunity to play hockey at the professional level.


Adam Shell

“Matthew Pinder has been an excellent representative for the school and the hockey program. He first attended RMC as a reservist. After getting acclimated into the RMC atmosphere Matt determined that being a cadet was path he wished to pursue. This is exactly our hopes for all our reservists, reach a comfort and success level at RMC and gain acceptance into the ROTP or RETP program.

Matt worked extremely hard to gain entrance into the program and has continued to work hard as a cadet both academically and militarily. From a hockey perspective Matt has been a offensive player who has contributed in all areas of the game. We look for him to continue to develop as a player and become a leader on our team.”