It took us a few tries, but Matt and I finally were able to get each other on the phone for this interview. I already knew a little bit about Matt from chatting with him when I was near his area for work in Harrisburg, PA. He lives in a city called Dillsburg (look it up, they have a pickle festival), which is between Gettysburg and Hershey and has a bunch of Civil War history.
GameWorn: I know from our previous talks that you are a chef, can you talk about that for us?
Matt Megonell: I work as a Chef for a contracted food service company. We provided a la carte, fresh, local dishes for the hospital staff and patients who are there. Our menu is offers a mix of comfort foods mixed in with some more unique products that you don’t see in hospitality division of hospitals like lobster macaroni & cheese, NY-Style cheesecake, and pulled pork BBQ with Carolina cole-slaw
GW: What is your favorite beer?
MM: I have a couple. Guinness Stout and Blackened Voodoo. Blackened Voodoo is made by a company called Dixie Brewing Company. They also make a brew called Mississippi Mud that that they bottle in the old style brown jugs like the jug bands used.
GW: Your favorite team is New Jersey, right?
MM: Yes and no. I’ve been a Devils fan since 1987, but grew a discontent when they signed Ilya Kovalchuk as he went against there defense-first mentality. After Kovalchuk left the team, I have once again resumed supporting them..
GW: Who is your favorite player?
MM: Adam Deadmarsh and Tom Chorske. I like players that I can relate to. I have been able to exchange emails with Tom over the years and talk about his jerseys with him. I also ran into Adam Deadmarsh’s sister in an airport once. I was wearing a Deadmarsh jersey and she came up to me and said she liked the jersey. She said she shares the same name and we began having a conversation while waiting for the flight.
GW: When did you start collecting and how did you get started?
MM: I started collecting in 2005, the lockout year. I was on ebay and wanted a Chorske jersey, so I typed in Tom Chorske jersey and a Utica jersey popped up that was game worn. It had a MeiGray tag in it. I researched it more and bought it. It’s still the cheapest jersey I have bought, and I still have it.
GW: What does your collection primarily consist of?
MM: My primary focus is collecting my Favorite players (which is limited to 20) and the different teams and leagues they played for. Along with that I collect Boston University and Providence College which I fell in love with during my time in college living in Providence, RI. I also saw the Providence Bruins a lot and grew up with the Hershey Bears; both of whom I also collect. Lastly, I collect the affiliates to the New Jersey Devils thru the years. My collection is diverse and specific all at once. My top five favorite players of all time are Tom Chorske, Adam Deadmarsh, Kirk Muller, Brian Rolston, and Scott Young.
GW: What is your favorite jersey that you own?
MM: I knew this question was coming. I had thought about this one for some time and I can only limit it down to 3. Is that ok?
MM: 92-93 Chorske Devils, 94-95 Quebec Nordiques…
GW: Ugh, I can’t spell Nordiques for shit, hold on a second….Ok.
MM: Haha, you should put that in there. Nobody has had to spell Nordiques in a while. The last one is a 96-97 Megonnel l Johnson Wales University jersey that I wore while playing.
GW: If you have any money in the world, what one jersey would you get?
MM: I can’t say I would want to get a huge superstar like most people would expect someone to say. This is a really good question…
GW: Yea, I think it really helps you understand what type of a collector you are talking to.
(Silence for about 45 seconds)
MM: Got it. 91-92 Chorske Devils. It has the 75th year NHL patch on it and the 10 year anniversary patch by the CCM logo. With my luck, someone will contact me with it and offer it to me for $1 million.
GW: Well, at least at that point you would know where it is.
MM: Yea, that’s true.
GW: What’s the best thing about the hobby?
MM: The people you meet. Some of my best friends are collectors or I met through collecting.
We talked about some of the people in the hobby that we know mutually and somehow got on the topic of photo matching. He asked if I knew Melissa Wade. She takes a lot of pictures of college hockey available at HockeyPhotography.com so check it out.
GW: What would you like to see for the future of the hobby?
MM: I would like to see more collectors trying to help each other out rather than bickering or backstabbing each other over a jersey. It’s not worth losing a potential friendship over an item and then not have anyone to talk to about what you have.
GW: Do you have any plans to go to any expos soon?
MM Yes. There is a super secret college game worn expo held in Boston every year. The guys that come to it are from all over and it’s a completely unique experience to any other expo. Instead of a bunch of walk-ins, most of the people that attend buy a table, set up their display and look at each other’s tables until lunch, when the displays are put away and everyone eats lunch together as a group.
No buying or selling happens until after lunch when the displays are set back up, then like a switch, the buying and trading happens and reminds you of wall street trading like in the movies.
I plan to attend next year’s NOVA expo hosted by Francis Rady The Northern Virginia is what I think more expos should be about… The collector. Lots of good people show up and we all get along. No one is rude to anyone else and everybody gets along or at least we pretend. I don’t think Francis’s expo gets as much credit as it should and he does a great job for all of us who attend. The expo is usually held the last weekend in February or the early part of March.
Matt’s website can be viewed at http://offtheirbacks.weebly.com/