His Kind of Town 1
His Kind of Town
Matt Olson, a senior at Robert Morris and Hockey Gold team captain, loves taking in the food and culture of the Windy City. Matt Olson’s accent is distinctly Minnesotan. It emerges when he points to a nearby restaurant on Armitage on the outskirts of Chicago’s famous Lincoln Park neighborhood. “They have the best behgels,” he exclaims enthusiastically, “trust me.” He means bagels, of course, but this midwestern boy hails from a town of less than 10,000 called Mahtomedi just outside the Twin Cities. In the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, A’s are pronounced like soft E’s, citizens prefer voting for political renegades and being the Northern most state in the continental U.S. bordering Canada, hockey isn’t a sport, it’s a birthright. It was hockey that ultimately brought Olson to Robert Morris University after playing three years of Juniors that took him on an odyssey through small town America. But it wasn’t just the great reputation of the Eagles Hockey program that brought him to the team. And though it helped, it wasn’t the academic freedom he would have at Robert Morris University that ultimately influenced his decision to sign with the school, either. “It was Chicago, definitely,” Olson said. “I’ve lived all over the U.S., but this city is special. I wanted to live in Chicago and play hockey and if you want to do that, Robert Morris is the place to be.” And since Olson moved here in 2006 to begin school he has taken advantage of everything the city has to offer, from walking around downtown on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, taking in the stores and the architecture, to testing as many of Chicago’s watering holes as possible, Olson has become an aficionado of sorts on all things Chicago.
He hasn’t missed a Lollapalooza yet and last year he went to an Incubus concert at Charter One Pavilion and was able to go backstage and hang with the band. “One of my buddies is friends with Chris Gilbert, the DJ from Incubus, and we got to go back stage, hang out and drink glasses of wine.” Though he’s not an avid cyclist as many in the city are - “I’m more of a runner” - he has been known to rent a bicycle built for two with his girlfriend and go for a ride on the lakeshore path along Lake Michigan. And his habit of running along the lake has given him the opportunity to have the quintessential Chicago celebrity sighting, “I’ve actually seen Oprah running and I’ve seen Vince Vaughn jogging along the lake.” No doubt Olson, a three-year captain and forward on the Eagles Gold squad, lapped them. “I like taking it all in,” Olson said. “Art fairs, walking around downtown, going to Navy Pier. I
do some touristy stuff, but it’s fun.” One of the best “touristy” activities he’s done was take a Segue way tour of the city. “It sounds really dorky but its actually really cool and they give you so much information. It’s the most informational tour I’ve ever been on.” Olson has one more year left to experience whatever he hasn’t yet experienced in the windy city before he graduates with a BBA from RMU and a couple TKs to add to his already impressive hockey resume. What’s next for the 24-year-old? Pro hockey overseas. “I’m thinking Australia, Paris, London, Amsterdam,” Olson says. “I’ve never been out of North America – I’ve travelled all over the U.S., Canada, Mexico - but I need to go spread my wings and go overseas for a little bit. Maybe a year or two just to have the experience, put it on my resume and travel around for free.” In the meantime, Olson will leave no stone unturned here in Chicagoland. “Everyone tells me that your twenties are the best years of your life, so I just want to experience everything.”
His Kind of Town