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Duffer’s Dabbles: NFL Legend Matte Held Red Wings Connection



Tom Matte, Baltimore Colts
Former Baltimore Colts running back Tom Matte, who died this week, was the son of Roland Matte, who played for the 1929-30 Detroit Cougars.

Former Baltimore Colts running back Tom Matte is a Super Bowl record holder. He’s the only position player to start at quarterback in NFL history. Matte, who died this week at the age of 82, also held a strong connection to the Detroit Red Wings. His father, Roland Joseph Matte, played for the 1929-30 Detroit Cougars. This factor made a significant impact on Matte’s life.

“Hockey is my favorite sport,” Matte once told me. “I was on skates from a young age.”

Red Wings Connection

Roland Matte, born in Bourget, Ontario in 1908, made his debut for Detroit on February 4, 1930. He collected one assist in 12 games. Roland was following in the footsteps of his uncle Joe Matte, who played defense in the NHL for four seasons earlier in the 1920s.

When player shortages caused by World War II led to Roland’s return to the NHL with the 1942-43 Chicago Blackhawks, it also caused confusion because this time, he played under the name Joe Matte.

“The only person who called me Roland was my mother,” Roland explained to Canadian Press in 1965.

Tom remembered watching his dad play semi-pro hockey as a youngster. “He was the toughest, meanest, dirtiest guy,” Tom recalled. “He didn’t have any teeth left, but he didn’t back down from anybody.”

Tom Matte, who holds the Super Bowl per-carry rushing record (10.5 yards), also played high school hockey growing up in Ohio and nearly got a taste of the pro game. He used to skate with the AHL Baltimore Clippers.

Baltimore coach Terry Reardon thought it would be a great promotion to have one of the Colts in his lineup. However, when Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom got wind of the idea, it was immediately nixed.

Down On The Farm

Riley Barber, Jonatan Berggren and Taro Hirose notched point, pushing their scoring streak to four games, as the Grand Rapids Griffins edged the Rockford IceHogs 2-1 in an AHL game on Saturday.

On the same day Derek King was named coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, his D.J. made his Grand Rapids debut. The Kings joined Chris and Jake Chelios as the only father-son combos to play for the Griffins.

Around The League

Pittsburgh: Kasperi Kapanen netted a hat-trick, but the Penguins blew the lead with two seconds left in regulation and lost 5-4 in a shootout to the Minnesota Wild.

Detroit: With Tyler Bertuzzi scoring twice in the third period and Moritz Seider potting his first NHL goal in OT, the Red Wings came back from a 3-1 deficit for a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The result was that they ended their four-game losing skid.

Detroit: Offseason free-agent addition Pius Suter also got off the snide for the Red Wings. He scored his first goal of the season in the win at Buffalo.

Washington: The Capitals are giving rookie Hendrix Lapierre the first crack at filling the second-line spot vacated when former Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha underwent shoulder surgery.

Florida: Minus leading scorer Sascha Barkov (lower-body injury), the Panthers nonetheless knocked the previously 10-0 Carolina Hurricanes from the ranks of the unbeaten, whipping the Canes 5-2.