UConn men’s hockey’s biggest recruit ever is coming to Storrs a year earlier than expected. Forward Matthew Wood is set to finish high school early and join the team this fall as a 17-year old, a source told The UConn Blog.
When he committed to the Huskies last August, the plan was for him to arrive as a true freshman for the 2023-24 season. But Wood tore up the BCHL — one of the top junior hockey leagues in North America — with a league-high 45 goals and 85 points in 46 games for the Victoria Grizzlies as a 16- and 17-year old.
Listed at 6-foot-4, 185 pounds with a right-handed shot, Wood is a power forward with plenty of skill and hockey sense to match. He isn’t afraid to get creative on the ice, either.
MATTHEW WOOD'S LEGENDARY THOUGH THE LEGS GOAL!!!https://t.co/suUC5ve5cj…#GoalOfTheYear #hockeygoals #shorts pic.twitter.com/qrP8b9xMLm— Victoria Grizzlies (@BCHLGrizzlies) February 19, 2022
UConn has rarely — if ever — landed a prospect like Wood. He’s eligible for the 2023 draft, where he has a chance to be the highest pick in the Huskies’ program history. Tage Thompson currently holds that mark as the only first-rounder (26th overall to the St. Louis Blues) from UConn.
The Huskies often bring in younger players as a creative way to land talent — other schools want to keep them in juniors an extra year but UConn offers them a spot immediately — but that’s not the case with Wood. He’ll come in next year simply because he’s good enough, along with the fact that the program expects him to move to the pros quickly, so they want to get him for an extra year.
Now, the Huskies’ incoming class is starting to come together. UConn has landed three transfer forwards — Ty Amonte (Boston University), Adam Dawe (Maine) and Justin Pearson (Yale) — with more to come while Wood will join a group of freshmen that’s expected to include the likes of Jake Black, Mark D’Agostino, Tristan Fraser, Tabor Heaslip, Huston Karpman, Jake Percival and Ryan Tattle at forward, Thomas Messineo and Jack Pascucci on defense as well as Arsenii Sergeev in goal.
After coming up one goal short of winning its first Hockey East championship this past season, UConn expects to reload, not rebuild, in 2022-23. The addition of Wood is a central part of that plan.