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Senior Spotlight: Matthew Brkljacic

By Mike Ross, 04/21/20, 10:45AM EDT


What is up everybody. Today we have a very special spotlight. Although his high school career is over, I am comfortable saying he will go down in the top echelon of players to ever grace our league and arguably the best defensemen we have ever had. Someone who played in our league all four years. Plant Panthers. Matthew Brkljacic.

Once upon a time, in the winter wonderland of Windsor, Ontario. The world was given, Matthew Brkljacic. “I was born in Canada, the Mecca of hockey. We lived there all my life. That is where I got my start in Hockey. Around six or seven years old I started skating and playing. Loved the game and have not stopped playing since. Then my family and I made the move to South Tampa when I was in middle school.”

In high school, Matthew found himself to become an avid consumer of history. “I got to Plant High School. If I had to pick a favorite subject, I would say I am a big history guy. It is factual stuff, it happened, and it changed the course of time. If I had to pick a favorite era, I would go with the wild west period or the Louisiana Purchase. Basically, when America started going out west.” For those of you who do not know. Matthew has become what seems like, a perennial member of the Lightning High School Hockey League’s All-Academic Team. As dominant as he is on the ice, he shines even brighter in the classroom.

As for his Plant Panthers this year, Matthew played in 16 games and had 25 points. The kid has been the catalyst for this team for quite some time. Making it deep in the LHSHL playoffs over the years and flirting with a SAHOF State Championship just seven weeks ago. “So, this is obviously my fourth year in the league. The league has come a long way from back when I was a freshman. It was not very organized. There were way more fights back then. It was a mess. But now, the level of competition has made leaps and bounds. The league itself has a better reputation now”.

After high school, Matthew has a plan. “I have a few options. I might go straight into college. I am young for my class so I might take a gap year and try to play juniors somewhere. Either way, I’ll go to college no matter what. My focus is going the law route. Being a lawyer really interests me and it seems like a fun career that would allow me to help people. I know getting into and going through law school is tough and a lot of work to manage but I feel like I do a good job at balancing a workload.”

Matthew is going to be missed next season. He is the ideal representation of an LHSHL player. He’s a straight A student, National Honor Society, Beta Honor Society, a good hockey player, and a fine young man. For me personally, I hope to see him continue to play hockey because even as a defensemen, he is an electric factory to watch.