Playing With Honour
Published by Jason Gairey on October 14, 2010
On Jan. 12 2008 Matthew Daley was just one among the many in Bathurst, N.B. whose life changed forever.
Daley’s older brother Tim became just one of four lucky survivors in a horrific accident that claimed the life of eight members of the Bathurst High School basketball team and a teacher on that fateful day.
While the team was returning from a tournament in the United States, the van that was carrying the team crashed into a truck, devastating the small maritime town’s community.
The catastrophic collision so affected Bathurst and its people that the story made national headlines.
With this terrible incident etched into his memory, the 5-foot-10 point guard Daley channels the fallen members of the Bathurst H.S. basketball team every time he hits the hardwood.
“That incident that happened a few years back was a very rough time for everyone,” Daley said. “It has a great impact on how I play on the floor. Every time I get out on the court it means something, and I play my heart out in honour of them each day. Practice or game, it’s for them.”
During the summer of 2010, the 16-year-old put his motivation to the test when he travelled a little further east from N.B. to P.E.I. to participate in the 2010 Canada Summer Games as a member of the U17 P.E.I. provincial team.
Daley would not disappoint and his strong play impressed his coaches.
“Matt [Daley] had a great showing at Nationals,” P.E.I. head coach Josh Whitty said. “He’s a player that will make everyone on the floor better.”
With solid court vision, and a fearless demeanor, Daley’s toughness on the floor would raise eyebrows amongst the players and coaches during the games, and would eventually land him a spot on the U17 all-star team – an accolade that the gritty guard was thrilled to receive.
“Playing for P.E.I was a great. The games were competitive and I was honoured to be selected as an all-star,” Daley said.
After his summer spent in P.E.I., Daley returned home to Bathurst for the new school year where he would be transferring to Bathurst H.S. after attending Dalhousie H.S. last year.
Bathurst H.S. boasts one of the better high school basketball programs in all of N.B. with several provincial titles, including one during the year of the tragic accident.
The basketball powerhouse of a school is excited that Daley transferred and can’t wait to see how he will mesh with the rest of the team.
“We’re really happy to have Matt [Daley] transfer over here to Bathurst [H.S.],” head coach of Bathurst H.S. Alan Doucet said. “He brings that competitive edge and toughness that will rub off on a team.”
Hailing from a family where basketball is a priority, Daley has lots of support behind him. All of his brothers played the game and his father has coached it for years.
Therefore, with the encouragement of his family at his back, the young guard has set a goal for this season to be a strong contributor for the Bathurst squad and lead them to the AAA Provincial Championship.
“My brothers all play the game. They are always on me to get better and are always pushing me to get better at every aspect of my game,” Daley said. “My goal is to win a Provincial title, to honour the guys, and their families.”
That horrible day will always remain with Daley and he has tried to use basketball as a means to show his respect for the tragedy.
This season, he will wear Tim’s old jersey number 22 as another way to remember.