MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Taylor Matson spent some golden years as a Golden Gopher.

“Unbelievable experience,” Matson said. “Playing for Don Lucia, the Gophers and being in Minnesota and being a Minnesota kid … you want to play there.”

His current residence is just over three hours south in Des Moines, where he plays for the Wild’s AHL team – the Iowa Wild.

Interstate 35W and a whole bunch of players are between him and the big club.

“Coming to the rink every day and just working hard, and, you know, learning the systems from Coach K,” he said. “Being that player that they need up there.”

Iowa Wild Coach K, aka Kurt Kleinendorst, says Matson’s game is maturing, but he needs some more beef to go to the next level.

“As a Gopher coming out of, you know, college, making the adjustment to pro, he’s done a nice job,” Kleinendorst said. “Tyler’s biggest issue is just his strength, and that’s not even on him, you know. I mean, that’s just a younger player coming out of college, going into an older league.”

To be playing in the AHL means your dream is still alive, and it means you’re still doing what you loved since you were a kid – only this time it’s for a living.

That is not lost on Matson. Even in the minor leagues, it’s a life that means he still brings a stick to work, and that ain’t bad.

“It’s a dream come true, and you know, you’re getting paid to play a game you love to play,” Matson said. “I just … come to the rink every day and just have fun with it and be around the guys and have a good time.”

Mike Max