Syracuse Crunch star Matthew Peca earns first AHL All-Star Game invite

Syracuse star Matthew Peca (center) will represent the Crunch at the 2018 AHL All-Star Game at the end of the month.

Matthew Peca is a hockey player, through-and-through.

"I always joke around that I was able to skate before I could walk, my parents always say," Peca shared with a smile.

The Syracuse Crunch are back to their winning ways, and because of that success, Peca is reaping the benefits.

"It's a good individual accolade at the end of the day," he added, "but at the same time, it just goes to show how strong our team has been because it's helping out everybody individually."

"He's not a veteran" Crunch head coach Ben Groulx said. "But he's an older guy on our team. When you look at [Matthew] Peca, he's a pro."

The American Hockey League chose to bring it's annual All-Star Game to the Utica Aud -- now named Adirondack Bank Center -- and at a youthful 24 years of age, Matthew Peca will make his first appearance as an All-Star later this month, suiting up with perhaps the next wave of NHL talent, which may very well include him.

"I think last year just goes to show that with team success, comes individual success," Peca continued. "We had a lot of guys graduate from the Crunch and that are now playing consistently in Tampa Bay. So I think that's probably the biggest thing for anybody -- just come to the rink and do whatever you can for your team, work on the little things and individual things will come after that."

Peca leads the Crunch in both points and assists, and if he keeps up this torrid pace, he, too, may very well make Tampa, Florida his permanent residence.

"I've heard good things about the All-Star Weekend," Peca explained. "It's definitely an honor and I want to represent the Crunch in a good way."

The 2018 AHL All-Star Weekend will begin on Sunday, January 28 with the skills challenge.

The All-Star Game will take place on Monday, January 29 in Utica, New York.

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