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- The gift of education
Bulldog legend pledges allegiance to Bobcats
Hamden Hockey hero adds to Whitney Ave rivalry
Thirty-three years at Yale, two Olympics and one World Tournament.
One decision brought Edward Maturo from an oppressed Sherwin-Williams worker to the job that would keep him hungry for more than 30 years.
Maturo worked in New Haven and made a trip to the bank to deposit the cash sales of Sherwin-Williams everyday. He knew he wanted a new career path but didn’t know what direction to go.
“I marvel at people who know I want to be a doctor or I want to be a lawyer and go after it,” Maturo explained.
On his path to the bank, Maturo would pass the personnel offices of Yale University and frequently stopped in to look at the job board. One day Maturo saw a position it was creating, which hadn’t previously existed at Yale, for an equipment manager.
“So I applied for it and I got it,” Maturo said with a smile. “That’s kind of a miraculous thing. I think I was 31 or 32 years old and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was just bumping at the walls and I said, ‘boy, that’s exactly what I’d love to do because I love sports.”
As equipment manager, Maturo was in charge of 35 sports and did all of the ordering and budgets for the teams. He graduated American International with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration but had no experience working in sports.
But his time at college still gave him a push in the right direction.
The Hamden native played ice hockey at American on a scholarship and played at Hamden High before that. His playing days would be what jump-started his professional life.
Maturo thought his career with hockey was over after playing at American, but that was just the beginning.
“Once I got to Yale, I started to get my foothold into hockey and because I played it, I really have a passion for it,” Maturo said.
Hockey brought him to places he never would have dreamed.
In 1994, Maturo was selected to go to the Olympics and serve as the USA men’s national ice hockey team’s equipment manager in Lillehammer, Norway. Later, in 2006, Maturo traveled to Turin, Italy with the USA women’s national ice hockey team.
“It’s like being in the traveling circus,” Maturo said on working with the national teams. “When I did the Olympics, we had a 65-game pre-Olympic schedule so you get on the bus, you go here, play a game, you pack up and then go to the next place.”
Maturo detailed how the teams wanted to play as many games on “European sheets” as possible to get used to the time changes and differences in food. He also said that some places were in such bad condition they would ship in their own water to be safe.
In 2010, after working nearly 1,000 Yale men’s ice hockey games and traveling the world several times with NHL players, he retired at the age of 64.
The longtime Bulldog then pledged his allegiance to the Bobcats for the 2010-2011 season saying that he wanted something to do in the winter.
“I wanted my summers off, I’m a boater so I like to fish all the time,” the retired Maturo said. “Jamie (Schilkowski) had a position open, he’s been a great boss and I’ve had a lot of fun here.”
While Maturo wanted a calmer life, perhaps he also wanted to be closer to his family in coming to Quinnipiac.
Both of his daughters work at Quinnipiac. Tami Reilly is the associate athletic director for the fitness center and is in her ninth year at Quinnipiac. His other daughter is Kristin DiFonzo, who is the secretary of the health and wellness center. He also has three granddaughters attending Quinnipiac, one who is a freshman on the field hockey team.
“He’s been a great addition here,” said Schilkowski, the assistant athletic director for equipment services. “His experience obviously working 33 years at Yale in the similar role, you get endless knowledge with that.”
Schilkowski added that Maturo has helped bring success to the team in the past few years.
“With the addition of him you can see we’ve taken the program to a whole new level,” Shilkowski said. “Not just through the coaching staff and the players but it also comes with the support staff too. The athletic trainers, equipment managers. Being able to take care of all that stuff has been good.”
Although Maturo’s loyalty has switched to Quinnipiac, Maturo still hasn’t taken off his last Yale championship ring and put it in a drawer with his estimated 15 others. But he’s waiting to put on a Quinnipiac one instead.
With Quinnipiac having already won the ECAC Hockey regular season title and the Cleary Cup, there is a strong chance he can swap the Yale emblem for a Bobcat soon.
“I want to bring in a bunch of rings and see if we can design something up,” Maturo added. “I gotta go see Jack [McDonald] I think and prime the pump.”
Now in his third year serving as Quinnipiac’s assistant equipment manager for the men’s ice hockey team, the Yale-Quinnipiac rivalry has slowly gotten easier for him.
“My first year here was pretty emotional, pretty difficult because I knew all the kids,” the longtime Bulldog equipment manager said. “Now as you become more distant from the program I only know the senior class kids, Miller, Laganiere and those guys. You become more distant and this is now my home.”
Since Maturo played his Johnny Damon card, the Bobcats are 0-1-1 in the Heroes Hat game. They will look to bring the trophy home on Friday night for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
Maturo can’t wait.
“We better beat the shit out of them,” he exclaimed.