Hackett replaces Kopriva in Blaze net
The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze can confirm the signing of former NHL netminder Matt Hackett for the remainder of the 2018/19 Elite League season.
Standing 6’2” tall, the 28 year-old will replace Czech Miroslav Kopriva who will return home following a second short spell with the club.
After being drafted by Minnesota Wild, round 3, 77th overall in 2009, Hackett, from London, Ontario, Canada went on to play 26 times, posting a save-percentage of 90.6% in the world’s top league with the Wild and later, Buffalo Sabres.
Between 2010 and 2017, he iced in 213 regular season AHL games with a save-percentage of 90.9% and a 2.65 goals against average. In addition, over 33 Calder Cup Playoff games, he has posted a save-percentage of 90.7% and in 2011 lead the Houston Aeros to the Cup Finals. In the following season of 2011/12, he was named to the AHL All-Star team and called up to Canada’s World Championships squad.
Before being drafted to the NHL, Hackett spent his major junior years with Plymouth Whalers and Windsor Spitfires of the OHL, appearing in the All-Star game and being named to the end of season second All-Star team in 2009/10.
Last season, he made a first trip to Europe playing 28 times for Slovakian club HC Detva. For the current campaign, Hackett was signed by Medvescak Zagreb of Austria's EBEL, however the deal fell through leaving the goalie looking for a new opportunity.
Hackett, will make his debut this weekend as Blaze take on Guildford Flames away from home on Saturday and again at the Skydome Arena on Sunday (5.15pm).
The club would like to thank Miroslav Kopriva, who departs for a second time having played a total of 21 Elite League regular season games, also appearing in the Challenge Cup once.
With a 89.6% save-percentage, the 35-year-old helped the club to 11 victories, and was named the iExcellence Player of the Month for October 2018.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “Since Kevin Nastiuk's decision not to return in the summer, we have struggled to find consistency within the goalie position due to injuries and some inconsistent play.
As a club, we thank Miro for coming in to help us on two occasions, and we wish him nothing but the best for his future.
Stewart continued, "In Matt, we get a guy that’s played at the very highest level and had success there. We are delighted to get someone of his pedigree. He’s a big guy that will bring us elite goal-tending at this level every night.”
The Blaze would like to thank two partners, one who wishes to remain anonymous, and DRP Logistics, who in addition to their support of Skills and Development Coach Dayle Keen, have gone another extra mile to support the signing of Hackett financially.