By Dakota Antelman, Marlborough/Hudson Editor
Hudson/Marlborough – The stars aligned to let Matt Filipe of the Providence Bruins make a special professional hockey debut on familiar ice in Marlborough, this year.
Filipe is the son of 1970s Hudson High School hockey fan favorite Paul Filipe. After signing a contract with his hometown Boston Bruins organization last year, and after COVID-19 forced the sudden temporary relocation of the minor league Providence Bruins, Filipe is now playing just miles down the road from his father’s former stomping ground.
“It’s kind of funny how it all came full circle,” Filipe said in a recent interview.
Growing up with a pro hockey father
Paul Filipe won a state championship with the HHS Boys Hockey team in 1978. Championship trophy proverbially in hand, he also went home that winter with an MVP award.
From Hudson, Paul played four seasons of Division I NCAA hockey for the Northeastern Huskies. There, he won team rookie of the year recognition while later helping the Huskies win their way into a third-place finish in the national college postseason tournament.
Upon his college graduation, Paul signed with the Bruins, himself, and played a season of pro hockey.
Full of triumphs at multiple levels, that local story is one Matt Filipe says he grew up knowing well.
“I always had that hanging over me from him,” Matt said of his father’s hockey career. “He would always bring it up.”
Learning family history on Hudson roads
Now riding team busses to out-of-town destinations, Matt reflects on family hockey heritage learned while driving through Hudson years ago.
Passing by Hudson High School, Matt recalls his father pointing out a small sign recognizing his 1978 state championship.
Elsewhere in town, Paul would tell grand stories of his “glory days.”
“He loves Hudson,” Matt said.
As a young skater driven by his father’s success, Filipe frequently headed to the same New England Sports Center where the Providence Bruins now play due to that aforementioned temporary COVID-19 relocation.
Though Matt has never actually lived in Hudson or Marlborough, he says the NESC and its sprawling hockey campus serve as a mecca of sorts for local athletes.
From middle school club team games to tryouts to tournaments, Filipe has fond memories of the place.
“Every kid who played in Massachusetts growing up played here at some point,” he said.
Succeeding in an atypical season
Matt Filipe’s chance to play close to where his father made his hockey name, on ice he had also already skated, is bittersweet.
Fans can’t attend games this year. So, Matt won’t be looking to the stands for his father’s sage hockey cheers.
The family is watching remotely, though, through a paid subscription service. Seeing Matt’s games, they’ve recently had things to cheer about.
After racking up a few shots on goal and a handful of penalty minutes over five games, Filipe scored his first professional point, Feb. 25, in the form of an assist.
Inspired by his hometown hero father, Filipe now has his eyes on his own future.
“I just try and get better game by game,” he said.
Our Providence Bruins notebook is an ongoing roundup of activity for the Providence Bruins hockey team as they play their 2021 season in Marlborough due to COVID-19. Check back weekly for updates.