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Interview with Anyang Halla goaltender Matt Dalton

After a fantastic first season that saw him set records and win the Asia League’s best goaltender award, Anyang Halla’s Matt Dalton, was kind enough to do an interview with Hockey in Asia.

While preparing for the interview, I found an interesting article that focused on your unique use of your goalie stick. Bob Essensa said he’d never seen a goalie using his stick like you do (with the curve facing inward towards the net). Have you seen or heard of other goalies doing the same since then?

I haven’t really seen any guys doing it in professional hockey, but I have seen a lot of younger kids doing it.

Why did you choose to play in the Asia League? What had you heard of the league?

I decided to come to the Asia league because I was looking for a change from where I had been playing. I hadn’t really ever thought about coming to Asia until I was approached by Steve Beak a Korean man from my hometown. He told me about what was going on over here and got me interested. I started talking to people that had played over here and got their impressions on what it was like over here and went from there.

In your first season with Halla, your first few games didn’t go smoothly then you caught fire. What changes did you have to make to your goaltending technique?

I wouldn’t say I changed anything, I actually thought we played fine at the start of the year. If you look at the roster that we had for those first few games, to the roster we had for the rest of the season it was a really big difference. I think that had more to do with the results at the start of the season than anything.

How do you prepare for games? Do you have any rituals?

I don’t have anything really crazy. The nice thing about home games is we don’t have a morning skate which is nice. So I wake up, have some coffee and just relax in the morning. Then I usually go to a restaurant by my apartment, come home take a nap if I am tired. If not, I just watch some TV and get ready for the game.

Last season your father was in attendance during a chippy game, and I don’t know if you heard him, but he said, “Stay in your net, Matt!” so I asked him why he said it and he told me what happened in the KHL. So I found a video.

You are a bit of YouTube star with that video which has over a million views. Nobody else on the team comes close to that many views? Are they jealous? Or will they be after seeing this question?

Yeah sometimes I see some of the guys watching the video at the rink on the computer or something like that. We joke around about it a bit, but that is about it.

There has been speculation since you first came to Korea, and you’ve probably been asked this question many times, but will you acquire Korean citizenship this year so you can represent the national team at the 2018 Winter Olympics?

As for Korean citizenship I haven’t formally been asked yet about going through the process to get it. I would be honored if they decided to give me one. I think that playing in theOlympics would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. My contract is up at the end of the 2015/2016 season so we will see what happens.

Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you?

I’m just looking forward to getting the year started and hopefully we can build off last season and keep going. I also want to thank the fans for their support. It means a lot to the players.

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