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NH father, son share fantasy camp experience

April 6, 2018
By ANDY FLYNN - Editor ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Matthew Ikawa, 22, began playing hockey when he was 5 years old. Then he saw what the goalies were wearing.

"I just liked the gear, so I suited up," said Ikawa, a rookie at this year's 4th annual Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp at the Olympic Center.

He was 7 years old at the time. Within a year, Disney released the movie "Miracle," which told the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, its struggles and its 4-3 underdog win over the powerful Soviet Union team before earning a gold medal against Finland at the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid.

Article Photos

Matthew Ikawa, left, and his father Warren Ikawa pose Wednesday, March 28 after Matthew’s team (Team White) beat his father’s team (Team Blue) in the bronze-medal game at the Lake Placid Olympic Center during the 4th annual Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp. Both are from New Hampshire, although Matthew now lives in Florida.
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

"It was just an awesome story to hear about, so I've basically been living it since then," Ikawa said.

His father Warren, a 57-year-old veteran of the fantasy camp, has know for the past 14 years how much his son loves the Miracle on Ice story.

"He's always been a big fan of the 1980 Olympic team," Warren said. "It just seemed to be his team that he adopted. That's his hockey team."

Matthew grew up in Hampton, New Hampshire, a town on the Atlantic coast between Portland, Maine, and Boston, Massachusetts. He played hockey in high school but dropped it to play lacrosse in college. As a student at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island, he was unable to join his father at the fantasy camp in Lake Placid last year.

"I was kind of bummed I couldn't go last year with him," Matthew said. "I was on spring break with my lacrosse team."

Warren said he enjoyed his first year at the MOI Fantasy Camp in 2017.

"It's just a lot of fun," Warren said. "Everybody was so nice, the players, the campers. I grew up in that era, and I'm pretty much in their age group. I remember watching the (Miracle on Ice) game and definitely being mesmerized by that team, so having the opportunity to come here and skate with them was just an opportunity I couldn't miss."

This year, he didn't want his son to miss out. Matthew graduated from college in December, giving his parents the perfect opportunity to make his own "Miracle" memories.

"We decided we wanted to give him this as his graduation present," Warren said.

After graduation, Matthew moved to Florida to work for Bar Down Lacrosse, which is based in Jacksonville. He made a special trip to spend four days in Lake Placid with his 1980 Olympic heroes and his father.

"We were on the same team to start out," Matthew said Tuesday, March 27, "then they drafted us on different teams. We get to play him tomorrow morning, so we'll see if he can finally score on me after 17 years."

Matthew was drafted as the only goalie for Team White, which was coached by Ken Morrow, Dave Silk and Buzz Schneider. Warren was drafted by Team Blue, which was coached by Mike Ramsey, Mike Eruzione and Mark Pavelich.

Asked if he'd rather play with his father or against him, Matthew said, "Against him. It's going to be fun when we beat him."

And it was. In Team White's 7-2 win over Team Blue to capture the bronze medal on Wednesday, March 28, Matthew had 26 saves with 28 shots against him.

After the win, Coach Morrow said the secret to his team's success during the tournament was "our young stud out there."

"I thought we had a team that deserved to be in the gold-medal game and we finished really strong," Morrow said. "Our goaltending was outstanding all tournament long."

Of the six goaltenders during the MOI Fantasy Camp, Matthew had the highest percentage of saves with 91 percent. He saved 144 out of 158 shots on the net.

Asked if he would draft Matthew at future fantasy camps, Morrow said, "I'm going to try to get his name on a contract as soon as I go back to the locker room."

As for Warren, who left this year's tournament with one assist, he still lives in Hampton, working in IT for an insurance company and playing hockey with his friends. He grew up in Durham, home of the University of New Hampshire.

"I grew up right by a pond, so I pond skated," Warren said. "I skated with bunch of kids that played high school hockey. ... Then I played a lot of beer league hockey after I graduated."

Of all the memories Warren has made during the MOI Fantasy Camp over the past two years, he said this year was special.

"This year it's being able to come here and share with my son," Warren said. "The nice thing, too, is the way everybody talks about him. He played great goalie, but everybody really likes him, too. That makes me proud."



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