BRICK — He approaches his craft with a laser focus that is unrivaled by his peers…and when you realize what’s riding on each performance, it’s easy to understand why.
Brick Hockey Club goaltender Matt Pousson is using his platform for a greater purpose, one that goes beyond check marks in the win column and the game of hockey itself.
It’s an initiative called ‘Saves for our Veterans,’ a program the Jackson native founded three years ago, and one he’s utilized to give back to a group that has provided our country so much.
“These men and women have sacrificed so much. They’ve sacrificed their lives and well being, and they’ve done it for us,” Pousson said of our United States military veterans following a recent NJYHL contest against the Ice Vault Bandits on Oct. 14.
“Our veterans, this a group of people that are struggling a lot these days,” Pousson added. “There are a lot of suicides and mental health problems that some of them are being forced to deal with on their own. Some of them have no place to go or live, and are just being put out on the streets because they have no support, not even from the government that they fought for…Making some saves and raising some money is the least I can do for them.”
The program works likes this: Pousson collects pledges from friends, family and community supporters that range anywhere from 10 cents to $2. At the end his Brick Hockey Club season, the amount pledged is multiplied by the amount of saves he made, and that equals the individual’s donation (Pousson also accepts flat donations of any amount).
In the first two years of this Saves for our Veterans campaign, Pousson raised $8,000 for his local VFW post in Jackson, growing the donation from $1000 in 2015 to $7000 in 2016.
The goaltender is hopeful that he’ll be able to grow the total once again, and is even considering taking the initiative to the high school level, where he’ll compete in his senior year with Jackson Memorial.
“I started thinking about bringing this to the high school season last year, but wasn’t able to get it up and running…though it is something I want to do this year,” said Pousson, who helped his Jaguars club capture the Handchen Cup Championship in 2016-17, the first Shore Conference Cup title in program history.
“This year it’s a goal of mine to bring it to the high school level, and hopefully some other guys will catch wind of it, pick it up, and continue with it from there.”
Pousson helped the Brick Hockey Club 18U AA program to a record of 12-5-1 this past season, and over that stretch the 2000-born netminder posted a save-percentage of .918 to go with a 2.23 goals-against average…and most importantly, 355 saves.
To follow along with Pousson’s effort you can join his Saves for our Veterans group on Facebook.
To donate or pledge – or should you be a fellow local netminder looking to join his cause – you can contact Pousson at MattPousson35@gmail.com