Chiefs’ for­ward, Mat­tila, has bright fu­ture in busi­ness

The Daily Courier - - SPORTS -

With a promis­ing hockey ca­reer on the hori­zon, 18-year-old Myles Mat­tila is lay­ing the ground­work for a bright fu­ture — com­bin­ing his pas­sion for com­pet­i­tive hockey with a solid busi­ness ed­u­ca­tion at Okana­gan Col­lege.

The right-winger joined the KIJHL’s Kelowna Chiefs this sea­son af­ter mak­ing his mark with the Okana­gan Rock­ets and Cari­boo Cougars of the B.C. Ma­jor Midget League over the past two sea­sons.

Mat­tila is one of ap­prox­i­mately 2,380 new stu­dents who be­gan classes at one of Okana­gan Col­lege’s four cam­puses last week.

“My goal def­i­nitely is to play hockey at the high­est level pos­si­ble,” Mat­tila said. “I can ex­cel in hockey, but why not also with a de­gree in hand? You never know if an in­jury or other cir­cum­stances could side­line me.”

Find­ing a pro­gram that wouldn’t make him choose be­tween hockey or ed­u­ca­tion was key.

“With team prac­tice mid-day, I needed some­thing that af­forded me the sched­ul­ing flex­i­bil­ity to still play com­pet­i­tively,” said the for­mer Ques­nel res­i­dent, who re­cently re­turned to Kelowna. “That’s why I chose Okana­gan Col­lege. I was able to build my timetable with morn­ing and evening classes.”

Mat­tila is con­fi­dent that the com­mu­nity fo­cus at Okana­gan Col­lege will also en­able him to pur­sue his other pas­sion: cham­pi­oning men­tal health aware­ness.

He’s al­ready re­ceived wide-spread recog­ni­tion for his ef­forts. In June, Mat­tila was be­stowed the B.C. Hockey Pres­i­dent’s Award for his ded­i­ca­tion to the cause as the founder of MindRight.info, a web­site de­signed to ed­u­cate the Cari­boo Cougars hockey com­mu­nity about men­tal health.

Mat­tila even re­ceived a Twit­ter nod from Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau for his ef­forts.

“The busi­ness pro­gram at the col­lege has a rep­u­ta­tion for com­mu­nity in­volve­ment and en­abling stu­dents to give back,” Mat­tila said. “I’m con­fi­dent that pur­su­ing the man­age­ment spe­cialty will help me make con­nec­tions to ad­vance men­tal health aware­ness.”

Rel­a­tively new to Kelowna, Mat­tila has al­ready been asked to rep­re­sent the city at the In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Youth Men­tal Health. Mat­tila will travel to Dublin, Ire­land, in two weeks where he will col­lab­o­rate with young lead­ers from around the world who are com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing pos­i­tive changes in youth men­tal health. As for Mat­tila’s long-term goals? “I’d love to be­come a lawyer one day, but one thing at a time,” he said. “For now, I’ll just en­joy my first weeks as a col­lege stu­dent.”

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