Tnias Mathurin is ready to step up this season for the North Bay Battalion of the OHL after spending last season on the sidelines.
Mathurin, a fifth-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in 2022, originally injured his shoulder during the 2021-22 season after landing on the joint shortly after the NHL Draft in July 2022.
“It was definitely a long year,” he said in a recent phone conversation with Detroit Hockey Now. “The coaching staff was great with me and the rehab place was very intense and extensive.”
In addition, Mathurin worked on skating during practice and began light stick-handling drills 12 weeks after surgery. He focused on being ready for the OHL playoffs.
He sat out the first nine playoff games for North Bay. Mathurin was cleared before game 4 of North Bay’s second-round series with Barrie and was put to the test in the Battalion’s 4-3 double-overtime win.
“The plan was not to use him a ton,” North Bay general manager Adam Dennis said. “But double overtime comes up an you keep seeing him come out, and he was comfortable in the moment.”
In retrospect, Mathurin was glad to be tested early.
“It was a tough first game, but I almost liked that better,” he said. “I got to see, first-hand, what it was like to play again in a real game. And then I got two extra periods. It was kind of like two games in one.”
Mathurin is looking forward to taking a leadership role this season.
“I think we could have a great team,” he said. “I’d like to play a role in leading the younger guys and leading the defense and the team to the (OHL) championship. I also want to have a healthy year. I want to get into the flow of the lineup and not be in and out of the lineup. And I want to have a huge impact on the season this year.”
Dennis, who played in the AHL and in Europe before settling in North Bay, says Mathurin had an impact on his team last season.
“I’d say about 90 percent of players wouldn’t have played last year,” he said. “But (Mathurin) was determined, and they way he stepped in was just impressive, including all the work he put in behind the scenes.”
Dennis lauds Mathurin’s maturity on and off the ice.
“He’s got great hockey sense,” Dennis said. “He’s miserable to play against and has a really long reach and a long skating stride so he can close really quickly. He doesn’t take a lot of penalties, but he doesn’t back down from anybody.”
About the name
Tnias is “saint” spelled backwards. Simple as that.
“That’s where my parents got it from,” Mathurin said. “They just liked the idea.”
He is the youngest of four, with three older sisters — Destiny, Justyce and Trinity.
“When I was younger, there was a lot of bullying, for sure. Now, they’re very nice to me,” he said, laughing.
Dennis, for one, expects Mathurin to leave juniors after this season.
“We certainly think he will be ready to play pro hockey,” Dennis said. “He’s always had a pro-like approach. Now that he’s fully recovered, he’ll have a full season to really build on that. We’re expecting big things next year as a 19-year-old.”