Bulldogs’ Strome makes strides with his skating after working with Underhill

Strome makes strides on skating front

OSHAWA, Ont. — Hamilton Bulldogs forward Matt Strome wanted to improve his skating skills for his second season in the Ontario Hockey League. He worked with renowned skating coach Barb Underhill over the summer and the results soon followed.  

“He is (getting better) because he’s getting stronger and that’s only going to improve,” said head coach John Gruden. “The one thing with Matthew is he’s so smart so he can make up for it with his hockey IQ. He just knows how to find a way and he hasn’t even scratched the surface.”

The additional work has helped Strome post some impressive numbers this season. He has a team-leading 28 goals and 44 points in 48 games, a noticeable jump from the 16 goals and 38 points he posted over 61 games in his rookie campaign. 

“He’s a very intelligent player,” said Gruden, who coached 53 games last season with the Flint Firebirds before joining the Bulldogs. “He’s maturing, he’s becoming a leader and for a kid who still hasn’t grown into his body, he’s just a great kid to coach.”

Underhill, meanwhile, has worked as a skating instructor with several NHL clubs. The two-time Olympic figure skater, who won a world pairs title with Paul Martini in 1984, also helped Auston Matthews prior to his rookie season with the Maple Leafs.

“I know that I have to work on (my skating), and I’m going to work extra hard to do that,” said Strome, who added that Underhill has helped him with his stride and edges.

Strome, a six-foot-three 203-pounder, is expected to be selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft this June in Chicago. He attended the draft days of older brothers Ryan (New York Islanders) and Dylan (Arizona Coyotes) to soak in the experience.

The three are in regular communication through a group chat on their phones during the season and Matt is always taking in his brothers’ advice.

“Just to stay humble,” the youngest Strome said of the guidance. “I think whether you have a bad game or you have a great game, don’t get too ahead of yourself or don’t get too hard on yourself.”

Strome, who tries to model his game after Anaheim’s Corey Perry, uses his size to his advantage and is able to muscle opponents off the puck. His excellent hockey sense helps him know where to be on the ice.

Gruden has Strome on the Bulldogs’ first power-play unit. The 18-year-old has an impressive shot and is always a threat to score.

“He’s a little different from his brothers, he’ll get on pucks, he’s not afraid to mix it up a little bit,” Gruden said. “I think he’s going to be a first-rounder. I think if he falls out of the top 20, someone’s making a mistake.”

Strome, a native of Mississauga, Ont., was ranked 19th among North American skaters in the latest NHL Central Scouting list.


Dhiren Mahiban, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Interior Health managers voice discontent

Negative comments about work culture aimed at CEO Chris Mazurkewich.

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Kelowna - Students were unaware of resources on campus

Video: Bulky bobcat goes for a stroll

Bob Lindley shared a video of a sneaky bobcat strolling through his yard in Vernon.

Cops report explosion in number of thefts from vehicles in Central Okanagan

In just the first 2 1/2 weeks of 2018, the number has nearly tripled in Kelowna and West Kelowna

Kelowna and West Kelowna’s unsolved crimes of the week

RCMP are searching for a fraud suspect and vandal suspect in this week’s unsolved crimes

Kelowna’s Ursel to coach host team at Olympics

Bob Ursel is headed to the Olympics with South Korea’s national men’s curling team

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

EDITORIAL: With harassment allegations, students deserve better at UBCO

The lack of communication with students isn’t good enough for the Kelowna campus

Physical altercation turns to online threats in Celista

Police were called to a Shuswap ice rink after a group of men physically fought each other

Arson suspect heads to court

Vernon man suspected of starting a string of 2014 fires in Vernon

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

Most Read