Entering his fifth year with the club, Matt Thomas joined the Washington Little Capitals in March 2018 as the new Hockey Director after seven years coaching at the NCAA Division 1 level.
As Hockey Director, Thomas has already transformed a variety of aspects within the WLC routine-- informational sessions for parents to show them a path for their child's advancement, a formalized educational program for older players, and a commitment to developing players through a new practice model designed to enhance team-play, position-specific skills, and individual creativity on the ice.
In his first season as 18U Head Coach, despite having only three 18-year-olds on the roster, Thomas cemented the squad as a force in the region, going 11-0-1 vs Southeast opponents. The team won the USAH Tier 1 Southeast District Championship and earned a bid to the USAH National Tournament.
In his second season, the 18U squad again won a PVAHA Championship and earned a berth in the Southeast District Championship game. The team won 25 games on year, including wins against top-20 teams and a 10-round shootout loss to #10 Belle Tire in the finals of the Legacy Global Midwinter Classic.
"I'm excited to see many more years of hockey from these 2001 and 2002 players... juniors, college, and perhaps beyond," said Thomas. "That's really our mission-- to provide the resources for players who want to continue their development."
While coaching at the NCAA Division 1 level Thomas recruited extensively in every developmental league in North America, building relationships with coaches that will benefit Little Caps players as they seek to continue their careers.
Prior to his arrival here, Thomas served as Assistant Coach at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) since 2011. Hired by Head Coach Mike Corbett in his first days at UAH, Thomas assisted the Chargers since their inaugural season as members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference (WCHA) and increased their win percentage each season. Thomas was individually responsible for team defensive systems and defensemen, even coaching UAH’s first-ever WCHA All-League selection. His final season in 2017-18 featured a number of milestones for UAH; four wins against top-20 teams, UAH's first-ever WCHA goal-scoring leader, highest-ever playoff seeding, and first-ever playoff win.
Prior to coaching at UAH, Thomas served as the volunteer assistant coach for the eight-time NCAA champion University of Denver Pioneers from 2011 to 2013, appearing in the national tournament in both of his seasons. While at Denver, he contributed in numerous aspects within the program; including video, practice planning, and individual on-ice instruction.
Thomas’s first coaching experience came at his alma mater, the United States Naval Academy. From 2009 to 2011, he served as Assistant Coach of the Navy Hockey program (ACHA D1). Among his many responsibilities was Recruiting Director; where, despite rigorous admissions standards and prerequisites, he facilitated the matriculation of fifteen recruits in two years—a group that led Navy to their first ACHA National Tournament. Thomas personally recruited Navy’s first-ever ACHA Hall of Fame member, Navy’s all-time leading scorer, multiple all-league selections, and candidates for highly specialized branches of service.
A 2005 graduate of the Naval Academy, Thomas was commissioned as Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy. Upon graduation, Thomas reported to Norfolk, VA, and remained there for four years, serving aboard USS MONTEREY (CG 61) as Tomahawk/Harpoon Officer and USS ELROD (FFG 55) as Damage Control Assistant. In total, he completed three wartime deployments in support of US and NATO operations worldwide. His final tour was as an Assistant Operations Director for Military Sealift Command Headquarters at the Washington Navy Yard.
Thomas was a four-year letter-winner and team captain at Navy, where he led the defense in scoring and plus/minus during his junior and senior seasons. As an All-League player, Thomas earned an invitation to participate in the USA Hockey World University Games camp in 2004. Thomas is a Level-4 certified coach and has coached at the USAH Select 15 and 16 Player Development Camps for the past eight years.
He also scouts for the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL).