Matthews is American and grew up in Arizona. The 19-year-old was a member of last year’s Team USA squad at the World Juniors and helped lead the States to a bronze medal in Helsinki, Finland.
Regardless, several hockey fans north of the border apparently expected Matthews to forget his nationality and cheer for the Canadians simply because the NHL team he now plays for is in Toronto. As a result, Matthews received a number of tweets scolding him for “betraying” Canada, or something.
It’s in very “poor taste” for Matthews to cheer on his home country via flag emojis because he is employed by a Canadian team? Um, yeah, I’m not sure you get to claim national ownership of a player just because your local team drafted him.
I just hope and pray that at least some of these responses were sent sarcastically or just in good fun. If not, I’m sure all these fans also definitely expected Canadian NHL players on U.S.-based teams to root for America in the tournament as well.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that is most definitely not how these international tournaments work.