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  • Colton Pankiewicz

Scratching beyond the surface with Matteo Giampa

By Colton Pankiewicz, Sports Editor

After being named the Atlantic Hockey Associations rookie, and overall player of the month, Canisius freshman Matteo Giampa has shown his superstar potential both early and often. Through 15 games the forward leads the team with six goals and sixteen points. When most see him they think superstar, but his stardom didn’t occur overnight.

Born in Virgil, Ontario, Canada, Matteo was always an energetic kid, playing any and every sport he could. He wasn’t alone, his mother was the kind of mom who told him she was proud of him regardless, where his dad was (and still is) the person who’d keep him humble after games. With their support system, he and his sister, Maddie (who is currently playing hockey as a freshman at the University of Waterloo) were able to go out and freely make careers for themselves. Matteo’s decision to play hockey wasn’t without sacrifice though, as a teenager he was forced to decide between his three sports, soccer, lacrosse, and of course hockey. Matteo described himself as a middle of the pack player for most of his younger years, but found himself being drafted by the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League in 2019. With the OHL being a pipeline to playing pro hockey, Giampa faced another fork in the road in deciding between college hockey and the OHL.

“I chose to take the NCAA route so I went to prep school, then that got cut short by COVID so I went to Alberta for juniors, played there for two years and committed to Canisius. I chose the college route because at the time I was probably only five eight or five nine and 140 pounds so I needed that time to grow, get stronger and develop my game. London’s a really great place to play but I had to look out for what was best for me,” said Giampa.

Giampa didn’t feel he really had his breakout year until last year as a member of the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where he posted 115 points in 70 games. He attributed much of his growth to the years of Covid that forced him off the ice and into the weight room, allowing him to grow bigger and stronger and with that came the confidence of the player you see on the ice today.

The decision to come to Choose Canisius came based off of a connection made with Griff's assistant coach, Max Mobley as an 11th grader. “I talked to Max since I was in grade 11 when I first got to prep school, so he, and Canisius were the first school to reach out to me. I felt like I had the best connection with not only Max but the rest of the coaching staff and I wanted to go somewhere where I felt very comfortable. It can be very intimidating to come in as a freshman but since I knew some of the staff, and players it made it a no brainer,” he said

Since joining the Griffs, Giampa has stuck out in every game he's played in, and is slowly becoming the face of the program, but his superstardom didn’t happen overnight.

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