NHL star Matt Duchene stands firm in who he is and what he believes.
The Nashville Predators centerman is unashamedly rooted in his faith as a follower of Jesus Christ. Duchene was raised in a Christian home where his relationship with God was a priority. And from that, his spiritual journey with the Lord has helped shape and mold him throughout his life.
“I was just brought up with it,” Duchene said. “My grandparents on both sides are Christians and my parents just brought me up with that way of life and belief. We went to church a lot when I was a kid. It’s tough to keep it going during the season, but I’m going to try and get out and find somewhere I like to go this year now that we’re somewhere permanently for a while. I’m excited to bring my son up with that.
“I grew up going to an Anglican church. I really enjoyed that. I’m kind of a non-denominational type guy now. I think everyone can have their own relationship with God. It’s something that’s a huge thing in my life.”
As Duchene moves into a new season of life in Nashville with his wife Ashley and infant son Beau, he looks forward to raising his family in the same Christian environment that impacted him so heavily as a child.
He and Ashley are committed to providing Beau with a loving example of what a relationship with the Lord is supposed to look like.
“My wife is a Christian as well and was brought up that way, so it’s nice,” Duchene said. “It’s not like I have it and she doesn’t have it. It’s going to be something that [Beau] is brought up with in a very loving way. For me, that’s what I love. It’s a loving relationship with God, and that’s the kind of relationship I think my son will grow up with. I’m really excited to teach him about it because it’s the biggest thing in my life.”
There’s a lot that goes into being a professional athlete, particularly an athlete as high-profile as Duchene is. There’s obviously the countless hours of work that are put in behind the scenes to make sure the on-ice performance continues to improve, but there’s also a certain responsibility that comes with constantly being in the limelight.
Duchene isn’t fazed by publicly putting his faith in Jesus on display. He’s comfortable talking about it with those who approach him. By no means does he want to shove his religious beliefs in the faces of other people, but he also isn’t worried about what outside judgments he may face about being so open about his faith.
“I don’t find it challenging at all,” Duchene said. “I definitely don’t preach to anybody about it who isn’t willing to talk about it, but it is fun to have open conversations with guys who are believers. I think everyone has got different levels of their faith, or none at all. For me, just being a Christian, it’s accepting that. I don’t really care if anyone judges me or not judges me on it. I do what I do and I believe what I believe. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t worry about judgment from other people if there is any, good or bad. It’s my own thing. I think faith is a personal thing, and I kind of keep it that way.”
Like all of us, Duchene often needs guidance from the Lord. As the summer of 2019 was approaching, and with it a free agency decision from Duchene on where he would spend perhaps the remainder of his NHL career, he turned to the Lord to help guide him in making his decision.
And what he found was that the Lord paved the way for him. All he had to do was follow.
Duchene signed in Nashville, a place that had become near and dear to him and his family. He had other options in free agency but ultimately felt Nashville was the right place for them to be.
“I prayed all last year, ‘Lord just open a door for me and I’ll walk through it. That’s all I’m asking. Just make it blatantly obvious what the right decision is to be in,” Duchene said. “The whole way along, there were like flashing signs of what I was supposed to do. I just gave it to Him, and He showed me the way. At the same time you have your own thoughts and everything and sometimes you overthink, but it was honestly taken out of my hands right there in front of me. The doors opened and I walked through them.
“It was as simple as that. I got exactly what I asked for. It was one of those things that reaffirms your faith in a way. Obviously we all have that deep belief, but when you have those moments of ‘Wow, like He’s there and He’s looking out for me’, that was huge last year for me from start to finish.”