Cullen making his new role work after finding balance

Former NHL star Matt Cullen, who adopted the affectionate nickname ‘Dad’ following his decision to play on into his early 40s says he has now found the right ‘balance’ in his life.

After coming to the decision to call time on his playing career in 2019, the father of three, now 45, is now back in his native Minnesota and is loving life.

With three boys all in high school, he certainly has his work cut out, in addition to his coaching duties for the Pittsburgh Penguins, which he is able to conduct remotely via video.

Matt Cullen - Pittsburgh Penguins

A schedule that fits around him

Cullen’s work for the Penguins focuses mainly around the center ice position, one that the former player is familiar with, having won 53.3 per cent of his face-offs across a career that spanned 21 years.

“It’s been a nice balance,” Cullen said.

“My boys at home are getting older and so it’s been fun for me to be able to coach them [in Minnesota] and be part of their hockey and their lives. Then, I can do a lot of the work from home through video and just communicating with the guys.”

One of the main ways in which he makes his role with the Penguins work is by watching, analysing and then dissecting videos of games, to then repacking them, with his feedback for players, while he occasionally flies to Pittsburgh.

Just recently though, he has been called back into the city in a more temporary capacity, with assistant coach Todd Reirden having slipped shovelling snow – Cullen being there to add to the coaching staff as he recovers from surgery.

Cullen commented: “It’s actually been really fun for me to learn from [Reirden],” Cullen said. “He has some pretty innovative ideas, especially when it comes to power play. So I’ve enjoyed learning from him.”