THE MATTHEW LESZCZYNSKI MEMORIAL STUDIO
"Skating With Angels"
Matthew Leszczynski was born on January 15th,1987 in New Liskeard, Ontario. He attended public school in Capreol, Ontario and spent time between high school in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Barrie. He also attended Georgian College in Barrie. Matthew was a member of numerous Capreol and Sudbury hockey teams throughout the years. Matthew was an exceptional talent and the OHL came calling. In 2003 Matthew was drafted in the second round of the OHL priority selection draft to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and had the opportunity to play with the Greyhounds for parts of two seasons.years and He was an avid fisherman and would routinely catch trophy size bass. Matthew's junior hockey career was tragically derailed as he started to battle mental health issues and addiction. Matthew was a fighter and fought hard for over a decade to battle his diseases but on December 17th, 2017 Matthew Leszczynski passed away suddenly to an accidental overdose on fentanyl. Matthew was only 30 years old. He is remembered by his Mother (Nancy) Father (Peter) and Sister (Amy).
Brady Leavold and Matthew Leszczynski never met, nor did one know of the other, but their lives draw a lot of the same parallels including being born in 1987. Leavold himself overdosed from fentanyl over a dozen time in the course of 7 years, luckily his life was saved by the over dose reversal drug called Naloxone but it is a miracle that he made it out alive More than 9 lives later, Leavold decided a change needed to be made. He wanted to share his story to help others.
In early April 2020 Hockey 2 Heroin The Road 2 Recovery was born.
Shortly after its inaugural episode, Leavold was introduced to a guy by the name of Matt Thompson. Thompson reached out to Leavold and shared the story of his friend that had lost his battle with addiction. Thompson shared the story of Matthew Leszczynski. Stating how much Hockey 2 Heroin The Road 2 Recovery and Brady Leavold's story reminded him of his friend who he missed dearly. Shortly there after Leavold decided to renovate an old chicken coupe located on his girl friends property in rural Muskoka (Utterson) into a podcast studio. Not knowing what to expect when he opened the door to the 10 x 6 defunct and abandoned structure, Leavold's original plan was just to empty whatever contents were inside. With a strong warning from his girlfriend's mother in what he would be in for once the door opened Leavold had no hesitation.
There were no real surprises when the door opened. It was without question once a chicken coupe, the walls and floor covered in chicken poop. Aside from that it was doubling as a storage shed for cast away items that the family has no real use for but just does not want to throw away. A common staple in most house holds. The original plan to empty out the poop layered shed quickly turned into a vision of a professional quality studio. Thompson and Leavold quickly developed a strong bond and friendship from a far, they still have not met but they have enjoyed the last month talking about Matty, hockey, life and of course the podcast.
After working on the studio that first Leavold called Thompson to update him on the progress and the new idea he had thought of while cleaning the poop from the coupe. While reflecting and visualizing recording in this future studio he was trying to think of a catchy phrase like "Live from the coupe" but that was but to bed rather quickly and the idea to honor a fallen hockey player he had never met but just could not stop thinking of was born. Leavold asked Thompson what he thought about it and without hesitation he agreed it was a great idea. Thompson then sent Leavold the first $150 to get new materials to start the "Matthew Leszczynski Studio" They discussed the idea of contacting the family and not long after Leavold and Thompson had both spoken with members of his family.
Other donations for the studio have been made by Leszczynski's sister Amy and also by both his parents Peter and Nancy. Construction is well under way and the studio should be completely done by the end of May 2020 at which time Leavold and his family, along with Thompson will proudly, officially open the "Matthew Leszczynski Studio." Thompson has tracked down a pair of Matthew's skates that they plan to dip in bronze and have as a monument in the studio as well as a plaque in his memory.
It is a real privilege and honour for Leavold and Thompson to be able to do this in his memory and for all those we have lost tragically to the ever increasing opioid epidemic. Ken Campbell from The Hockey News is writing an article for their magazine that features Leavold and The Matthew Leszczynski studio look for it mid May 2020.
For more information or to visit the Matthew Leszczynski studio in Utterson, Ontario please email Hockey 2 Heroin