SPORTS SCENE – By Lyle Carter: Hunter preparing for world championship

Longtime hockey fan Boyce like Bearcats chances

Published on March 17, 2017

Matt Hunter receives encouragement from personal trainer Heather Patton during a recent workout.

TRURO, N.S. – For more than 15 years Mathew “Matt” Hunter has trained and swam with both the Cobequid Special Olympic Swim Team and the Truro Centurions Swim Team.

Enjoying tremendous success, Hunter has achieved many goals while competing all over the world. When the World Down Syndrome Swim Championship takes place in Truro in July of 2018, Hunter hopes to be in top form.

“I have to meet qualifying times to compete,” Hunter, 28, of Truro, said. “I have no problem with that, I’ve been training four days a week in Halifax, two days in the the Rath Eastlink Community Centre pool in Truro and Heather Patton works with me two days each week. I’m really looking forward to the world championship in 2018 – it’ll be nice to represent our town and province in a competition taking place in my hometown. My outlook is that I’ll be competing

against a lot of other countries.”

Hunter pointed out that the stronger countries will probably be Australia, Great Britain, Italy, Mexico and Brazil. Patton, the dedicated swimmer’s personal trainer, is a TMX trainer, spin bike instructor, bodymind nutrition coach and former nurse.

She is pleased with the consistency in Hunter’s training.

“It’s been great that Matt and I have been consistent in the gym,” Patton said. “We began in October by meeting with Jeremy Steinbach, the strength and conditioning coach who trains Olympic athletes in Halifax. We worked out a training program and since then I’ve been Matt’s trainer. I was very humbled to have been asked.

“Matt is doing really well and he’s definitely increasing his strength and speed in the water every week. He had his three best times during the last two weeks which is a big deal. I’ve been noticing that people are now asking Matt questions, they are noticing him and everyone is very supportive regarding his training for the 2018 world event.”        

Centurions head coach Miranda Elliott feels Hunter’s best stroke is butterfly while he has also done well in 1500m, 800m and 400m freestyle and other events. Highlights for Hunter include earning two medals at the 2011 World Special Olympics in Athens, Greece, he won bronze medals in Loano, Italy in 2012 and Morelia, Mexico in 2014. In the World Down Syndrome Swim

Championship in Los Angeles in 2015, Hunter earned three medals while swimming in the top division.

Tanya Colburne, host-chairwoman of the world swim event to be held in Truro, feels it will be an event unlike any other the region has seen.

 “In Matt Hunter we have a world-renowned athlete in our home town ready and willing to welcome the world in 2018,” Colburne said. “The community has been overwhelmingly supportive and we look forward to the support growing as the event draws closer.”

* * * *

Voice Of The Fan

For more than 20 years, we have enjoyed talking to hockey fans and hearing their views.

Earlier this week and before Truro Bearcats and Yarmouth Mariners opened their best-of-seven Eastlink South Division semifinal playoff series, I caught up with Charlie Boyce.

Charlie Boyce

A dedicated hockey fan, Boyce’s love for hockey has seen him spend a good part of his life in the confines of the Truro Forum, the Colchester Legion Stadium and the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

“This first playoff series against Yarmouth will be a real good one,” Boyce, 87, of Bible Hill, told me. “It’ll go more than four games for sure, all the games between Truro and Yarmouth were very close during the regular season. Both teams have good goaltending but I think Jason Rioux gives Truro a little edge. Our big scorers up front give us another edge. Hockey calls for a few

breaks though and I’m hoping our guys really go on the attack. That’s just my outlook from my little

birds-eye view.”

Boyce shared an experience when an early 1970s junior game attracted approximately 2,800 fans.

“There was such a big crowd I couldn’t get in the Legion Stadium. Truro Bearcats had goaltender

Denny Gostick, Randy Crowell, Albert Gamble, Robbie Cooke, Freeman Maxwell and players like that.

It was a big playoff game against New Glasgow Bombers. I got hold of Ronnie Conrad, the only way I

could get in to see the game was by agreeing to be goal judge. So, that’s what I did.”

Lyle Carter’s sports column appears Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.