Matt Pelech (born September 4, 1987) is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward who is currently playing the Belfast Giants of the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL). He formerly played with the Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (NHL). Pelech was a draft pick of the Flames, selected in the first round, 26th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and made his NHL debut in 2009 as a defenceman with the Flames. He has since switched to right wing and become known as an enforcer. His brothers, Michael Pelech and Adam Pelech, also play professionally.
September 4, 1987|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Height||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Weight||230 lb (100 kg; 16 st 6 lb)|
San Jose Sharks
Schwenninger Wild Wings
26th overall, 2005|
Pelech played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sarnia Sting, London Knights and Belleville Bulls. In 2007, he was assigned to the Quad City Flames of the American Hockey League. He was recalled by the Flames on April 4, 2009, making his NHL debut that night against the Minnesota Wild. Pelech recorded his first career point, an assist, three nights later against the Los Angeles Kings. He joined the Abbotsford Heat for the 2009–10 season when the Flames relocated their AHL team. He was sidelined in January 2010 with a blood clot in his arm, an ailment team doctors initially feared was season ending. Pelech recovered in time to join the Heat for their playoff run, appearing in all 13 of the team's post-season games.
Pelech appeared in 59 games for the Heat in 2010–11, scoring 3 goals, 2 assists and adding 198 penalties in minutes (PIM). The Flames chose not to offer Pelech a new contract following the season, making him an unrestricted free agent. Pelech signed with the San Jose Sharks, spending the season with their AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks. He appeared in 59 games during the 2011–12 AHL season, where he scored eight points and had 168 PIM. He was an alternate captain in Worcester, and was voted the team's "unsung hero". Pelech, who was moved to the right wing and developed into an enforcer role in the Sharks organization, returned to Worcester for the 2012–13 season where he recorded seven points in 58 games and added a career-high 238 PIM. He also appeared in two games with San Jose.
The Sharks again re-signed Pelech to a one-year contract prior to the 2013–14 NHL season. Following a training camp in which he worked to prove he could be more than just a fighter, Pelech was initially assigned to the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL, but was recalled to San Jose for the season opening game when the Sharks' coaching staff felt the team required a greater physical presence. He scored his first NHL goal – the game winner – against goaltender Roberto Luongo in a 4–1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on October 10, 2013.
On May 13, 2015, Pelech agreed to a one-year contract with German outfit, Schwenninger Wild Wings of the DEL. He made 49 appearances in his sole season with the Wild Wings, tallying eight goals and twelve assists. In April 2016, Pelech inked a two-year deal with fellow DEL team Hamburg Freezers. However, the Freezers folded the following month. In September 2016, he signed with the Graz 99ers of the Austrian Hockey League,
After one season in Austria, Pelech moved back to Germany for the 2017–18 season as he inked a one-year deal with ERC Ingolstadt on May 23, 2017. On July 10, 2019, Pelech moved to the United Kingdom's Elite Ice Hockey League, signing for defending league champions the Belfast Giants.
Pelech's younger brother Michael (born 1989) plays in the ECHL for the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, while brother Adam (born 1994) plays in the NHL. They are nephews of former Vancouver Canucks general manager and NHL player Mike Gillis.
|2007–08||Quad City Flames||AHL||77||3||6||9||141||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008–09||Quad City Flames||AHL||59||3||6||9||130||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||San Jose Sharks||NHL||2||0||0||0||7||—||—||—||—||—|
|2013–14||San Jose Sharks||NHL||6||1||0||1||22||—||—||—||—||—|
|2015–16||Schwenninger Wild Wings||DEL||49||8||12||20||102||—||—||—||—||—|
- "Pee-Wee players who have reached NHL or WHA" (PDF). Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
- "Wild keep desperate playoff hopes afloat as Flames stumble towards postseason". ESPN. 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- "Iginla has goal, assist; Flaems can clinch division with regulation win Tuesday". ESPN. 2009-04-06. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- Granger, Grant (2010-05-16). "Pelech persevered through health scare". Abbotsford News. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- "Matt Pelech profile". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
- Kinvig, Dan (2011-06-30). "Flames GM Feaster seeks veterans to make impact for Heat". Abbotsford News. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
- "San Jose Sharks Prospect Report" (PDF). San Jose Sharks Hockey Club. 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
- Pollak, David (2013-10-02). "San Jose Sharks call up Matt Pelech from San Francisco Bulls". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
- "Matt Pelech player card". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
- "Sharks Re-Sign Defenseman Matt Pelech". San Jose Sharks Hockey Club. 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
- "Sharks stay unbeaten with 4-1 win over Canucks". ESPN. 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
- "Matt Pelech increases defensive depth" (in German). Schwenninger Wild Wings. 2015-05-13. Retrieved 2015-05-13.
- "News - Freezers verpflichten Torhüter MacIntyre und Verteidiger Pelech". www.hamburg-freezers.de. Archived from the original on 2016-05-01. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "Bid to save Hamburg Freezers DEL ice hockey team comes up short | Sports | DW.COM | 25.05.2016". DW.COM. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
- "Graz99ers - Timeline | Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- "MATT PELECH VERSTÄRKT DEN ERC". Retrieved 2017-05-23.
- Matt Pelech joins the Giants for Season 20