Brothers Grant and Matt Hutton Are Living Out Their Hockey Dreams
For brothers Grant and Matt Hutton, hockey has simply become a way of life.
Born the sons of Tracy and former hockey player G.R., the Hutton brothers were out on the rink learning to ice skate before they could even read or write.
“As soon as our kids could walk, they were on the ice with their grandmother and cousins down at the Fairgrounds,” Tracy says. “They were probably 3 years old when they started in skating lessons.”
Now decades later, Grant, 26, and Matt, 22, are still on their skates forging successful hockey careers of their own, with Matt playing collegiately and Grant playing professionally as a member of the New York Islanders organization. While the brothers are finding success today, they’ll be the first to admit how much hard work and dedication it took to get them to this point.
After learning to skate as toddlers, Grant and Matt started out playing hockey around age 5 as part of what’s called a house league (comparable to a recreational league in other sports) at the Carmel Ice Skadium. Growing up in central Indiana, the boys had to forge a path of their own to pursue their hockey dreams.
“It was strange because all my friends from school played football, basketball and baseball, and I was kind of that odd guy out playing this weird sport,” Grant says. “I relished in it. I liked being the different one. I liked being the one that was part of a sport that wasn’t super popular.”
By age 7 the Hutton brothers were out playing travel hockey, spending weekends on the road to compete with higher-quality competition.
“Not a lot of travel teams want to travel to Indiana to play, so that means a lot of weekends on the road,” Grant says. “It means a lot of traveling to different states to play different teams just so you can be seen by scouts and you can be playing against better competition.”
With the level of commitment that was required, the Huttons quickly grew close with the families of their fellow travel hockey teammates. In particular, Grant found a lifelong friend in Drew Doyon, whose father Mario Doyon coached the boys’ hockey teams with help from G.R.
“Playing travel hockey in Indiana, to get a lot of quality games it’s a lot of travel,” says Drew, a longtime travel hockey teammate of Grant. “We missed out on a lot of weekends being home and hanging with school friends but gained a lot of really, really quality friendships by being at the rink together, being on the road together, and basically eating breakfast, lunch and dinner together on the weekends.”
A former teammate of Grant and Drew, Patrick Lawson played goalie for the Indianapolis Racers. Like so many others on those youth hockey teams growing up, Patrick and his family made lasting friendships with many other Racers players and their families.
“You don’t necessarily have time on the weekends to be sitting around with your school friends because you’re driving up to Chicago for a tournament that’s all weekend,” Patrick says. “It morphs into this family friendship with teammates, which I think is very unique to the sport.”
As a testament to the longstanding friendships he gained from hockey, Patrick says many former Racers teammates were present at his wedding last October.
“You’re talking 18 or 19 years later that we still have those bonds to be able to feel comfortable inviting them,” Patrick says. “Those friendships mean absolutely everything to me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for those friendships.”
While the players on these travel hockey teams were missing out on time socializing with friends back home, their parents were also making big sacrifices as well, at times traveling across state lines so their kid could play a game on a Friday afternoon.
“They always say hockey parents are a little crazy because we travel a lot,” says Mario with a laugh. “We put a lot on hold for our kids when they play, with the road trips almost every weekend, so it takes some very dedicated people to do that.”
With two children that both played travel hockey in Kyle and Patrick Lawson, parents Lynn and Mike Lawson would typically be split up on weekends during hockey season, with one parent accompanying Kyle for a tournament and the other accompanying Patrick.
“It was a whole family commitment, so everybody had to buy in, both the parents and the kids,” Mike says. “Lynn would be in Illinois and I’d be in Missouri. Lynn would be in Kentucky and I’d be in Wisconsin – because we were each with one of the kids on a hockey trip.”
If the team were to find success at a tournament, it’d make for a late Sunday night to close out the weekend. On occasion, Lynn recalls not getting back to Carmel until early Monday morning when the Racers would do well on the road.
“The biggest sacrifice was time,” Lynn says. “The boys would have games on the weekends. It’d be two on Saturday and two on Sunday, because if a team was going to travel to play you, you were going to get a lot of games out of it.”
For Drew, Grant, Patrick and their families, all of the hard work and sacrifice ultimately wound up being worth it, especially when their U-14 Indianapolis Racers squad won a national championship – proving Indiana hockey was a force to be reckoned with.
“When we were 14 we actually won the national championship and beat a lot of quality teams,” Drew says. “For a team from Indiana that’s unexpected, but we worked really hard all year and were able to accomplish that.”
As parents, Lynn and Mike have very fond memories of that Racers championship run as well.
“We were playing against teams that were from Wisconsin, Minnesota and New Jersey and here we were this little team from Indiana,” Mike says.
While most of their teammates have moved on from hockey since those youth league days, Grant and Matt haven’t stopped traveling all around the country for their sport. Prior to his current stint with the New York Islanders organization, Grant played for several junior hockey league teams including the Corpus Christi IceRays, Janesville Jets, Tri-City Storm and Des Moines Buccaneers. He then played NCAA Division 1 hockey for powerhouse Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where he was named captain his senior year. Demonstrating his commitment to Miami University, and his leadership of the Miami Redhawks, Grant postponed a pro contract that was offered following his junior year. Though a tough decision, Grant stayed in college and finished his degree in Business.
Following high school, Matt Hutton played on junior league teams in six different states prior to playing NCAA Division 1 hockey at Robert Morris University in PA where he is now a freshman.
“It’s crazy where hockey has taken me,” Matt says. “I’ve met phenomenal people. I’ve made lifelong memories. I’ve made lifelong friends. It’s something I’ll never forget and never take for granted in my life.”
In reflecting on where they are now in their hockey careers, both Hutton brothers ultimately acknowledge how crucial family support has been in making their hockey dreams become reality.
“It’s been monumental – there’s no other way to put it,” Grant says. “Without the support of my family, it simply wouldn’t be possible. Not just my parents, but the group that we had in Carmel and the players on my team. They fully supported us no matter what, and I’m sure a lot of families had to live life a different way so that their kid or kids could play hockey.”
As a former teammate of Grant, Patrick couldn’t be prouder of his longtime friend.
“It’s incredible to tell my coworkers that one of my best friends growing up is in the Islanders organization,” Patrick says. “At the end of the day we were all hard workers, but no one was ever a harder worker than that guy.”
Acknowledgment: O’Malia’s Living and Carmel Magazine recognize the behind-the-scenes contributions of Mike and Lynn Lawson, and sons Kyle and Patrick. Their vision for this article and their friendships within the Carmel Hockey Community were the key to this feature. And thanks to every Carmel family supporting their kids in whatever sport they are playing. These family moments are the memories of a lifetime. Scott Horvath of O’Malia’s Living and Gary Weitzel of Carmel Magazine.