Robert Matte-Legendary Goaltender & Builder

Quebec Lacrosse Legend


(Written by Rad Joseph)

Robert Matte

Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame

Inducted into the Builder Category



Quebec Lacrosse Icon

When you meet Robert Matte, you are immediately struck by his kind, humble and gentle nature. When you know, he is regarded by many lacrosse observers as the very best box lacrosse goalie to come from the Province of Quebec, you think – he is not a very big man physically, he must have been a tremendous competitor. And that he was! In his prime, Robert stood 5’9” and weighed 145 pounds, but he played with talent, passion and grace exhibiting “cat like” reflexes and tremendous athletic skills. In addition, Robert brought a dignity to the game displayed by only the game’s most gracious and honorable players.

St. Michel Beavers – 1969

Robert “The Cat” Matte

Carried by team mates celebrating a championship win!


Robert’s participation in lacrosse continued long after his playing career leading to over five decades of contributing to the game with Robert being recognized as the ultimate volunteer builder in Québec lacrosse’s history.


Robert learned and developed his goaltending skills beginning in high school. He had been a forward since the peewee level, but an injury to the high school team goalie led to Robert stepping into the nets. Robert was known for his athletic skills as a short stop in baseball as he displayed mobility, determination and speedy athletic response to game situations. At age 15, the transition to becoming a lacrosse goalie was a natural process. Robert immediately discovered his passion for lacrosse goaltending. For Robert - “playing goalie was pleasurable, pure ecstasy”.

He played highly competitive lacrosse at the juvenile, junior and senior box lacrosse levels in Montréal. Robert was acknowledged by his teammates, opposition players and lacrosse fans as always, a game changer – recognized for being the team’s best athlete and the team’s most valuable player and the heart and soul of every team he played for.

Robert Matte – Making the Big Save

Montreal Internationals versus Syracuse 

Can-Am Senior Lacrosse League – 1979

During his career as a player, Robert competed against some of lacrosse’s very best players including Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Famers such as Travis Cook, Johnny Davis, Jeff Gill, Louis Delisle, Ernie Mitchell, Bill Nunn, Bruce Roundpoint and Terry Sanderson. During the short-lived 1974/1975 National Lacrosse League, Robert’s team mates included Dale MacKenzie, Serge Loiselle, Robert Bleau and Jean Marie Bergeron. He played against Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame players such as Dave White, Barry Alfred, Greg Tarbell, Louis Mitchell, Gaylord Thomas and Mike Benedict.

Coach and Mentor

Upon the conclusion of his junior career in 1971, Robert took on the role of “goaltender consultant and coach”’ to the Québec Provincial Junior and Intermediate Teams involved in the 1973, 1977, 1981 and 1985 Canada Games. Robert’s efforts led to a vast improvement of the play of goaltenders and a noticeable improvement of Québec’s performances at the Canada Games; improving from an 8th position in 1973 to a Silver medal in 1977, a Gold medal in 1981 and a Bronze medal in 1985.

For more than 40 years (from 1972 to 2016), Robert Matte coached and mentored goaltenders and teams. He served as a “personal coach” to some of Québec’s best box goaltenders. He also coached numerous teams from Juvenile to Junior.

Robert Matte’s intellect and experience made him a highly respected and insightful analyst, teacher, mentor, and motivator. Robert’s huge commitment included direct involvement with teams from Rosemont, St. Michel, Montréal, Pointe aux Trembles, Longueuil and Varennes. In addition, Robert Matte played similar roles with various levels of Québec Provincial Teams involved in national and international competitions.

Analytical Genius

Over the course of his coaching career, Robert Matte collected, compiled and assessed statistics. Robert knew numerical facts provided knowledge which could be used to devise strategy. Robert’s use of data was well known and were utilized to teach. He developed a “Team Playbook” which became an exceptionally useful tool for his players.


Sharing his Wealth of Accumulated Knowledge

Throughout his entire lacrosse career including coaching, mentoring and being an analyst, Robert Matte has shared his wealth of knowledge with countless others. Robert has produced manuals, documents and other informative papers presented in numerous lacrosse seminars and clinics.

A clear indicator of his immense passion for lacrosse is found in the fact during the period when Robert was a student in Brébeuf College, he wrote articles for the college’s weekly newspaper. As his education progressed, as a university student attending Université du Québec à Montréal, in 1973 and 1974, he wrote lacrosse papers on conditioning, fitness and team strategic preparation.

As a volunteer technician for the Québec Lacrosse Federation, in 1977 and 1981, Robert authored manuals on goaltending for both box lacrosse and inter crosse. In addition, Robert wrote a highly detailed technical document on the organization of a lacrosse team involved in high level competition.

In 2004, Robert wrote a detailed thirty-page document examining the need for “the best possible organization” in order to achieve successes in lacrosse at a high level of competition.

Between 2001 and 2004, as a coach for the Québec and Canadian Senior Inter Crosse Teams involved competing at the international level, Robert Matte created and produced a sixty-page document (a “Game book”) which provide the foundation explaining Robert Matte’s philosophical beliefs and detailed patterns and plays for high level competition. In 2004, as a member of the Canadian Lacrosse Association’s Technical Committee, Robert helped produce the Association’s manual (Community National Certification Program/Community component).

In 2003, as a member of the International Inter Crosse Federation’s technical committee Robert wrote the thirty-one page Inter Crosse rule book.

In 1977, in the role as a consultant for Plani-Spec, Robert directed the research and production of what is regarded as the most valuable document ever produced pertaining to the technical references in sports and leisure activities within arenas. The document is regarded both nationally and internationally, as “THE” reference document for organizers of activities and events held within arenas.

Robert Matte - volunteer administrator, organizer and builder

During the decades from 1968 to 2016, the development of the game of lacrosse in the Province of Québec, can be largely attributed to the administrative and organizational skills of Robert Matte. He was involved at every level of the game’s development.

From 1973 to 1980, Robert served as a member of the Québec Lacrosse Federation’s Technical Committee. This group devised rules, bylaws, procedures, technical manuals and principles of ethics and philosophy for the game. Under Robert’s leadership, the Technical Committee became the guiding force of the positive development of the game in Québec.

In 1973, Robert Matte created the Montréal Lacrosse Association serving as the Association’s President for 8 years. He introduced the game within the City of Montréal’s Sport Department and ensured that budgets and technical resources were allocated to lacrosse to support the development of the game within several of the city arenas.

During the period 1975 to 1981 – Robert Matte created and managed the lacrosse component of the Montréal International Multi Sport Club’s program. As a volunteer, he was the general manager of Montréal’s lacrosse elite pee wee, bantam, midget, juvenile, junior and senior traveling teams playing in regional, provincial or national competitions. As general manager for the six competitive teams Robert took on the responsibility organizing training facilities, coordinating travel plans, assuming responsibility of raising funds and balancing budgets, selecting and supervising coaches at all levels, while developing organizational philosophy and ethical standards.

The Montréal International multi-sport club regrouped elite teams in ten Olympic Sports (Track and field, Badminton, Basketball, Cycling, Weight lifting, Handball, Tennis, Archery, Volleyball and Water Polo). Getting lacrosse included in this internationally and Olympic oriented multisport club was a huge accomplishment.

Robert Matte held the position of Technical Director of the Canadian Lacrosse Association 1978 Founders Cup Tournament in Montréal which included junior teams from eight provinces. In 1981, Robert served as the Technical Director of the Pee Wee National Championship in Longueuil which included 52 teams from across Canada

From 1980 to 2003, Robert was involved in the drive to introduce, develop and promote inter crosse as a safe introductory sport within the city of Montréal’s schools and recreation departments. This led to the creation of the Montréal Games, an annual multi-sport competition where inter crosse was a highlight sport.

From 1991 up to 1994, Robert was the Host Organizer for the annual touring National inter crosse teams from France, Belgium, Italy and Denmark who traveled to Québec and played 12 games across the province in their fourteen days tour. As host organizer, Robert was responsible for international travel, ground transportation, food, accommodation, and game day protocols and procedures for the visiting teams.

In 2001 as a Board member of the Québec Lacrosse Federation he personally lobbied the Sport Ministry and the Minister for Sports and obtained a discretionary funding of $150,000 to allow the Federation to pursue the development of lacrosse within Québec. This was a significant accomplishment as it occurred at a time when government funding was being largely directed towards Olympic sports. Robert continued on and remained as a member of the Federation’s fundraising committee and contributed to the Federation’s annual budget growing from $120,000 to $460,000.

From 2001 to 2016 he was a member of the Québec Federation’s Orientation Committee serving as a critical analyst of the Federations goals and programs and as a resource person in matters of planning, finances and organization.

In 2000, Robert Matte was awarded the Joe Cambria Order of Merit - a special award given to volunteers who have had the talent to grace the game and to lead it in Québec with humility, integrity, wisdom and generosity.

In 2004, Robert Matte was inducted in Brébeuf College’s Sports Hall of Fame for lacrosse. He was the school’s second inductee for lacrosse in the school’s 75 years existence.

As a fan, watching Robert play with skill, intensity and fierce competitive desire was a treat! However, given his more than five decades of continued and immense contributions in so many ways to Quebec lacrosse - current players, coaches and parents, owe a debt of gratitude to Robert Matte. He has been a special builder who has blessed the game of lacrosse with incredible organizational skills, intelligence, dignity and modesty.