Matt grew up playing hockey in Sterling, Ontario. His professional hockey career kicked off in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for the Windsor Spitfires. After playing 4 season in the OHL, Matt was picked 144th overall in the 1997 NHL entry draft by the Vancouver Canucks. Coach Matt amassed 1,046 NHL games in 17 seasons, scoring 167 goals and 231 assists for a total of 398 points. Matt’s teams only missed the NHL playoffs 5 times in his 17 seasons and he was able to win the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.
Matt split his first season in the NHL between the Canucks and their NHL Affiliate, The Syracuse Crunch. His first full season in the NHL was in 2000-2001; after playing 8 seasons in Vancouver, Matt was traded to the Washington Capitals for a short period of time before joining the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008-2009. In 2013, Coach Matt signed with the Minnesota Wild where he played until 2015. In addition to his NHL Career, Matt played in the World Juniors in 1998 and the World Championships in 2004, where he won a gold medal with Team Canada. Since the commencement of his NHL career, Matt was able to fulfill his new goal of becoming a coach. Residing in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, Matt works with many amateur athletes and spent last season coaching Orono High School with friend and golfing buddy, Mark Parrish.
It’s safe to say that in terms of a hockey career, Matt has done it all. But often times, a lot goes on off the ice that goes unnoticed by the hockey community. While in Vancouver, Matt and His wife started the Matt Cooke Foundation of Hope. Also, while in Pittsburgh, Matt was actively involved in the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, which in 2013, brought him to Haiti on a humanitarian trip to aid in relief of the hurricane that struck in 2010 . The altruistic nature of Matt Cooke does not end there; he was also involved with the Light of Life Rescue Mission which provides food and shelter for the homeless and Ronald McDonald House, which assists families with seriously ill children who are receiving medical treatment. Matt was recognized for his selfless deeds by being granted the Edward J. DeBartolo “Community Service” award in 2013 by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Currently, Matt lives in Edina, Minnesota with his wife Michelle and two kids. Matt spends his free time attending his kids baseball and soccer games.