Matthew McClure has brains and brawn, and now he also has the accolades to prove it.
While working to finish his management information systems and marketing degree, the University of Georgia hockey player was named an American Collegiate Hockey Association Academic All-American, according to the Ice Dogs Web site.
Junior and seniors with an overall GPA of 3.2 or higher were eligible for the honor. McClure, an Augusta Christian grad, has a 3.3 GPA.
Receiving accolades for his schoolwork resonated with McClure.
“It’s obviously something I’m proud of,” he said. “I’ve always been concerned with grades and academic performance first and foremost, so it’s cool that it was recognized.”
McClure played for the school’s Ice Dogs, a club hockey team, since his 2007 arrival in Athens. The team competes in the SECHC league.
After previously serving as a forward, McClure played defense for the 2011-12 season. He was the team captain, and was club president for the 2010-2011 season.
“I took care of all the administrative stuff, everything regarding paperwork for the university and the club sports meetings,” McClure said.
This season, he still helped out, but turned the reins over to his roommate, who was the vice president a year ago.
“I didn’t want the responsibility this year and he wanted the position,” he said.
McClure started playing hockey as a child. He played at the Augusta Ice Forum and was on the Augusta Junior Lynx travel team in high school. He considered playing Division I hockey, but knew it wasn’t in the cards. But he loves playing hockey for UGA.
“It’s often pride hockey. You’re playing for your school,” he said. “You’re representing Georgia, playing against Florida and Georgia Tech. … It’s not NCAA
hockey, those guys are amazingly talented. It is ours, it’s what we have, it’s what we do and it’s awesome.”
And being on the team helped him maintain a balance at the university.
“It kept me sane my entire college career,” McClure said. “When stuff’s crazy with school, I get to go be physical and have fun with my friends and play hockey and focus on something not school. It was totally a valve for me.”
And when he graduates from Georgia, he plans to keep the valve open competing in men’s leagues.
“I’ll keep playing (hockey) forever,” McClure said. “Sad to say, I’m probably done with serious competitive hitting hockey.”