Veteran Spotlight – Matthew Carniel

Giancarlo Nadeau

Arguably the highest-praised player in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, the Real Deal Mattew Carniel has been blowing fans away since day one.


The pride of Port Moody, BC, has been in the PJHL for three years, dating back to the 2021-22 regular season. “I was pretty lucky to come here. I was met with a lot of nice teammates, and they made me feel comfortable,” Carniel said. “It was perfect to come to the rink and go to school every day,” he added.


The Carniel family has played a significant part in this forward’s life. “Ever since I was young, they would take me to and from the rink early some days. They’ve had the biggest role in my hockey career,” he said. The Carniels’ have also volunteered with the Wolf Pack for the past few years.


Getting to know his teammates more has helped him mature as a hockey player. “Being around for a little bit, you get to know everybody quite well and the culture around the team. Bonding with teammates over time has been really fun,” he explained.


Known by many as the Real Deal, Matthew Carniel is one of the most respected forwards in the league. “This year, we put up a bit more numbers and clicked a bit better offensively,” he mentioned. Carniel put up the third-most points on his team this season, finished first in power-play goals with 14, and had more points this season (47-39-30-69) than in his first two years with the organization (69-26-39-65).


A standard off-season for Carniel begins by taking some time off at the beginning of the summer. “Creeping up to the start of the season, I like to get on the ice and spend a lot of time in the gym,” he explained. It’s an off-season routine that appears to work quite well for him.


Coming to the organization has been one of his favourite moments in the PJHL. “I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came in, but the guys were super nice to me, and having that great season with them right away was an enjoyable memory,” he said. His rookie season is undoubtedly one to remember, as the club finished at the top of the Tom Shaw Conference with a record of 31-7-5-1.


Let’s jump back to December of that season. Mattew Carniel scored a pretty special goal. “It was a fun game against a good opponent in Delta,” he said. Carniel was the Teddy Bear goal scorer that season and continued by saying, “Being able to score that goal and celebrate for a little while was a fun moment.” Add that goal to the highlight reel!


Fast forward to Wednesday, January 3, 2023, and Matthew Carniel made another mark in the Wolf Pack history book. He assisted on a goal from Rylan Oatman against the Mission City Outlaws to become the franchise record holder for the longest point streak in team history. “That means a lot. It’s pretty cool to hold a franchise record of any sort. It’s been an awesome season,” he said. He admitted not being aware of the record until a few games before he broke it. “It’s hard not to think about it going into the game against Mission, but luckily, I got it out of the way in the first period,” he explained.


There’s a good chance that Wolf Pack fans won’t remember how many points Carniel had with the team, but one thing they will remember is his nickname, the Real Deal. “I got to give you credit for that because you came up with it pretty quick,” he said to Giancarlo Nadeau. “It’s stuck pretty well,” he said, chuckling. “Sometimes when I watch my games, I’ll hear other broadcasters spit it out sometimes, and it’s pretty funny,” he said.


The 2003-born forward wants fans to remember him as a hardworking player. “I showed up to the rink and showed up for my teammates. Hopefully, I’ll be remembered as a hardworking player,” he expressed.


Carniel finished his PJHL career with 67 goals, 73 assists, and 140 points in 129 games. He will certainly be remembered as more than just a hardworking player.