Summer 2024

Dallas Stars center Matt Duchene seeks to love God, love others during NHL playoffs

Following a regular season in which they recorded the second-most points in the NHL (113) and the second-most points in franchise history (trailing only the 1998-99 team that won the Stanley Cup), the Dallas Stars needed all seven games in their first-round series to dispatch the defending-champion Las Vegas Golden Knights.

A 2-1 decision on Sunday night in Dallas advanced the Stars to the second round of the NHL playoffs and a matchup with the Colorado Avalanche, winners of the Stanley Cup in 2022.

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The second-round series will be a homecoming of sorts for Stars center and NHL vet Matt Duchene; the 33-year-old was drafted by Colorado third overall in 2009 and played his first eight NHL seasons with the franchise. He was traded in November 2017 to the Ottawa Senators, who traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets in February 2019, and he signed with the Nashville Predators as a free agent that following summer. After four years in Nashville, Duchene signed with the Stars early in free agency last offseason.

“Matt was a player we had our eye on entering free agency,” Stars GM Jim Nill said at the time. “What he brings to our lineup goes well beyond his stats. A veteran of 14 NHL seasons, he’s a proven point producer who can lead by example. We’re looking forward to having him join our strong core of leaders.”

Duchene enjoyed a bit of a resurgence this season. The Haliburton, Ontario, native appeared in more games (80) than he has since the 2014-15 season, and he posted the fourth-most points of his NHL career (65, with 25 goals). The two-time All-Star (2011, 2016) was +15 on the ice a career best and he played in his 1,000th career game in December, a testament to his talent and his durability.

After his 1,000th game, Duchene posted a video and lengthy caption on Instagram, thanking numerous people and teams. He also thanked God.

“I just wanna thank the Good Lord above for the life and career You’ve given me… I’m grateful for it every single day. I feel truly blessed,” he wrote.

Both Nill and Duchene have been open about their faith, and have also been guests on the Sports Spectrum Podcast, with Duchene coming on in October 2022 as a member of the Predators.

“It’s very hard to balance the values you learn in your faith with the impulses, the lifestyle, the nature of pro sports,” Duchene admitted. “… Even on the ice, you’re walking a tightrope.”

He continued later, “Two rules, you know? ‘Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor.’ Those two rules, I definitely follow those two rules. I’ve found my niche in pro sports through that.”

Duchene describes himself as a “Christian, Father, Husband, Die-hard Fisherman, Wannabe Country Singer, Golf Fanatic & Dallas Stars #95” in both his Instagram and X bios.


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A post shared by Matt Duchene (@matt9duchene)

“There’s no one greater than Him,” Duchene said on the podcast, “and there’s no one that has your life and plan in their hands other than Him.”

Duchene has yet to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Still, he knows that whatever Dallas’ playoff run in 2023-24 may hold, God is sovereign, He’s purposeful, and He’s working all things for the good of His people. Game 1 against the Avalanche is set for Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. ET from American Airlines Center in Dallas.

>> Do you know Christ personally? Learn how you can commit your life to Him. <<

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