NA hockey standout Golon perfect example of local co-op

Matt Golon had a sophomore year to totally forget. Never mind dealing with the little nagging injuries, Golon also had to endure, like everyone else worldwide did, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. So the North Arlington High School student, who plays ice hockey with the Kearny/North Arlington/Secaucus cooperative, struggled through the season, scoring just three goals.

So when the 2021-2022 season was rapidly approaching, Golon did all he could to prepare.

“I played hockey all year round,” Golon said. “I really wanted this year to be special.”

Golon played inline roller hockey at the Inline Skating Club in North Arlington and  He played for the Jersey City Capitals at Pershing Field in Jersey City.

“I played about three or four games a week,” Golon said. “We played all over New Jersey. I played hockey winter, summer, spring. It keeps me occupied. It’s the perfect sport. It’s played at such a fast pace.”

Golon admits that he has one prominent trait as a hockey player. He’s fast.

“I use my speed to my advantage,” Golon said. “I drive toward the net whenever I can. I use my speed to get into the zone.”

Well, Golon has certainly been using that speed a lot this season. After scoring just three times last season, Golon has been on an absolute scoring tear this season.

“I really didn’t have super high expectations for this year,” Golon said. “But I had some success my freshman year (17 goals), so I was a little optimistic. I had a tough year last year. I was definitely motivated to get ready for this season.”

Golon has been more than ready. He has scored 22 goals and collected 18 assists thus far, well on his way to a 30-goal season. The team is doing fine, posting a 7-4-5 record (which looks more like an area code), but they have won three straight games against Johnson Regional, Newark East Side and Clifton.

Over the last two weeks, Golon has been lights out. He had seven goals and six assists in three games two weeks ago and last week, Golon tallied five goals (two in the 6-3 win over Johnson, two in the 6-1 win over Newark East Side and a goal and an assist in the 7-1 win over Clifton.

For his efforts, Golon has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past two weeks.

Kearny/North Arlington/Secaucus head coach Tim Firth, a teacher in the Kearny school system, said that Golon has been showing improvement every step of the way.

“He’s grown and matured,” Firth said. “He’s gotten better every single year. All Matt did during the pandemic was play hockey. But I could have never predicted how dominant of a scorer he would become. Yes, he’s incredibly fast, but he’s not only just fast. He’s incredibly talented as a stick handler. He has a variety of moves. When the game starts, he puts it in an extra gear. It’s really incredible to watch.”

Golon comes from a hockey family. His older brother Sean played for the co-operative a few years ago and younger brother Owen is an up-and-comer who will probably join his brother on the team next year.

Firth had no problem with naming Golon as one of the team’s captains.

“He had the most hockey experience of anyone,” Firth said. “He’s played so much hockey in his life.”

Just how much?

“I guess I started playing when I was about four (years old),” Golon said. “I just love the sport.”

Golon is also extremely serious about his contribution to the sport and his young team.

“From the experiences I’ve had with him, he’s pretty straight forward,” Golon said. “He’s not a quiet kid, but he’s not rambunctious either. He’s pretty level headed.”

“I think it’s my responsibility to lead by example,” Golon said. “I definitely need to be more vocal with my teammates. I generally keep to myself. I’m not as outgoing as some kids. Hopefully, I can lead this team to a playoff berth (in the Northern New Jersey Interscholastic Hockey League-McMullen Division).”

But can Golon continue his incredible scoring burst?

“I think I can,” Golon said. “I think I can keep playing the way I have been. It’s more of a goal of help this team win than to score goals. It’s been a very interesting season. We have a lot of young kids, but the kids have talent. We’ve been having loads of fun. I just go out there and play my game. I want to keep it going. I’m confident that I can keep it going.”

Firth believes that Golon can play collegiate hockey somewhere.

“If he sticks to it, then I think he has a chance to play in college,” Firth said. “He absolutely can play college hockey.”

Taking his game to a higher level on the ice is a goal for someone who scores goals.

“It’s been a goal for me,” Golon said. “I’m already looking into it. It doesn’t matter where I play, as long as I’m playing hockey somewhere. I’m slowly researching my options. I definitely haven’t reached my full potential. If I reach my full potential, I can do twice as much. But I’ve been having loads of fun this year. I’m just going out there and playing my game.”

The team has tough NNJIHL games this week against West Orange, Johnson Regional and Newark East Side.

Firth has faith in his junior captain.

“He has great speed and vision,” Firth said. “He knows where he has to be and knows how to get there. If we supply him with the puck, he’s going to make a play. Matt’s just an incredible player.”



Kearny/North Arlington/Secaucus center Matt Golon, who is a junior at North Arlington High School. Photo by Jim Hague



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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer
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Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”