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How do imports spend the summer break? We caught up with Matt Bissonnette to find out! He talked about holidays, fitness and getting back into the hockey mindset.

Holiday in Canada

‘It’s very important to me to be able to get home to Canada in the summer. You want to get away and see everyone and of course let the family see my son. I got to see a lot of my friends this summer too, including a couple of my good friends who were getting married. I was a groomsman for one wedding and the other wedding was a friend I had known since we were 5 playing hockey together. These times were very special. I’ve also been on a family holiday with the in-laws, I’m very lucky.’

Family time and preparation

‘Playing ice hockey is a massive commitment so it’s nice to spend some time with family. I make the most of time I get to spend with my wife and son. As soon as the season finished, I knew I was going to take care of myself a little more this summer. The previous summer I did not look after my body – I went home to Canada twice and ate food I didn’t get to eat for a while! This summer when I went home, we were smart and ate well and did more exercise while we were there.’

Fitness and training

‘So when I’m preparing for the season and getting into shape, other than chase my son around I tend to get on my bike and cycle at home. This may come as a shock but I’m not a runner! I also play golf, this has kept me busy. We are into training now, but I won’t push myself too hard at the start, it’s a long season ahead. We have been able to get on the ice early this year, possibly 3 weeks earlier than last year so we have no excuses. The calibre of the skate has been good too with the likes of Liam Kirk, Robert Dowd and Cole Shudra pushing us. This is good for the old guys and even the younger guys – we’ve been benefitting from this for sure and this should do us well going into the season.’

Looking ahead to pre-season and expectations of the year ahead

‘I think we all come into this season wanting to win. I think we have the best defence and goalie in the league. We are a group who are getting older but we are a smart hockey team. Through the season we will play to our strengths and we just want to win. If we don’t get a trophy this season, we will be very disappointed. I’ll be looking forward to playing with Hewy the whole season and I might leave the scoring to him! With the preparation we’ve had, we look pretty good out there and we feel great.

‘The pre-season games should be fun for the fans to watch but for the team it’s a chance to see Solway who have put together a good team. We want to get a feel for what they’ve put together. And we know that Hull will be coming into the games ready to go. The games are a chance for some of those younger guys to show what they can do too, to show who wants those spots. We want our guys pushing for spots on each line. The old guys need to show that they deserve to be there so competition is going to be good.’

‘I’m glad to be back with the Dogs – I don’t want to be anywhere else.’

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