BINGHAMTON — Massena’s Matt Meacham spent six years building a reputation as one of the top video coaches in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators.
Weeks before he was about to begin his seventh, Meacham received a phone call.
“It was a surprise,” Meacham said. “I was getting ready for training camp for the B-Sens and all of a sudden I got a call from Chicago, ‘Hey, come out and interview’ and I didn’t really think anything of it.
“I thought it was good experience to have an interview in the NHL and next thing you know, I get the job and I’m moving out to Chicago in a couple of weeks. It was a crazy start, but the season was memorable for sure.”
Meacham, who was back in the Binghamton area earlier this month week as the head instructor at the Southern Tier Goalie School at Chenango Ice Rink, said it was an enjoyable first season despite the Blackhawks coming up short in the Western Conference finals.
The opportunity gave Meacham a chance to work with two of the best players in the sport — Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who have teamed to bring two Stanley Cups to Chicago.
“Both of them are amazing,” Meacham said. “Things that Kane can do with the puck on his stick; it’s remarkable. I almost think it’s video-game like. Where you’re sitting there having the puck on the string, and he’s weaving in and out of people doing spin-o-ramas and putting it top shelf.
“And Toews-er, he’s everything. He’s probably the best leader I’ve ever come across. Just the work ethic he has; he leads by example, he’s the hardest worker on the ice, he’s the hardest worker off the ice. Whenever somebody needs a pick-me-up, he’s there. Whenever we get off-track, it’s nice to have someone in the locker room as a coaching staff to say, ‘hey maybe we don’t need to say anything right now. I think the leadership in there has it.’”
A native of Massena, Meacham graduated from SUNY Cortland in 2006 and played two seasons as a professional goaltender, including eight games with the Elmira Jackals in 2006.
Meacham joined the B-Sens after his playing career ended and most recently served as the club’s video coach/hockey administrator. His duties included scouting upcoming opponents, analyzing game tape and producing game-day preparation videos.
After working with well-respected coaches like Kurt Kleinendorst, Luke Richardson and Steve Stirling in Binghamton, Meacham is now on the staff of Joel Quenneville, one of the most successful coaches in NHL history.
“I came into a perfect spot,” Meacham said. “Every coach that I’ve worked with to get to this point has helped me and to work with a ... soon-to-be Hall of Fame coach in Coach Q is a great experience for me.”
Meacham is using all of that coaching experience to help young area goaltenders at the Southern Tier Goalie School, organized by B-Sens equipment manager Tom Severance.
“One regret I have is I feel I waited too long to maybe help with the movement,” Meacham said. “I was here for six years and this is our third camp that we have here. We did some clinics along the way but it’s something I wish I would have started sooner, or helped out with sooner because I like working with the kids.
“That’s when I had my most fun just putting on the pads when I was little and going out on the ice and not worrying about too much other than stopping the puck. To be able to come back here and give back to a community that’s helped me out and maybe but some pads on a couple new faces, it’s great.”
Meacham is the son of Chris and Karen Meacham. He and his wife, Lindsay, reside in Chicago.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The preceding article originally appeared in an edition of the Press and Sun-Bulletin which is published in Binghamton. The author, Matt Weinstein, covers the Binghamton Senators. The article was reprinted in our newspaper by permission.