Alumni Spotlight: Matt Nichol

Matt NicholMatt Nichol

Owner and Coach Paragenix Systems Inc and Director of Player Health & Performance at Hamilton Tiger-Cats Team
McGill’s Bachelor of Education B.Ed 1998


Matt Nichol is a veteran strength and conditioning coach who has trained professional and elite amateur athletes since the late 1990’s, working with numerous individuals and teams.

Matt is an industry leader that hosts Canada’s premier summer, off-season hockey camp for top NHL players. Every year 25 NHL and 25 of the best amateur players get accepted into the program. Using the latest technology, equipment and scientific research Matt tailors training and nutritional plans to maximize his athlete’s performance.

Outside of his work with professional athletes and Olympians, sports teams and athletic associations, Matt has founded, directed, and partnered with several innovative companies. Most notably, in 2003 he invented a revolutionary new line of sport supplements that he used exclusively with the professional teams and athletes he was working with. In 2009, Matt chose to commercialize these formulas and make them available to athletes worldwide.

Matt was a founding partner and the product formulator at BioSteel Sports Nutrition, a manufacturer and distributor of nutritional sports supplements. During his tenure with the company, he helped BioSteel grow from a start-up with a shoestring budget to a multi-million dollar business with international distribution.

On October 1st, 2019, Biosteel was majority purchased by Canopy Growth Corp. Upon the sale of the business Matt took the opportunity to exit the company to focus on other business opportunities and his core interest: improving human high performance.


What is your current professional role? What are some of your career highlights?

Matt functions in a few different capacities, but first and foremost he sees himself as a coach. He established in a business in Toronto that takes a different approach to health and fitness, unlike traditional gyms, Matt’s approach is to help individuals who have very specific goals achieve those goals. This could be a professional athlete, an individual who sustained injury or a client that has a specific fitness or health goal. Matt’s goal is to provide a range of services to participants such as physiotherapy, chiropractic services, sports psychology and mental skills, coaching and nutrition.

Matt also consults with different small business in understanding what do they hope to achieve, why haven’t they been successful and then putting the systems and processes in place to help them achieve their goals. Previously, Matt worked with the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. He is inspired by the abilities different people the he had worked with namely, Ray Emery, whom he worked with to recover form a complicated injury that would typically lead to retirement. Matt’s aim is to help people who are considered an underdog achieve their dreams.


When you were first carving your path, what made you choose McGill, and specifically McGill’s Faculty of Education?

From a young age, Matt had a feeling that he wanted to be a teacher, he was inspired by his parents who were both teachers. He truly loved school and sports, and he always thought he would become a gym or history teacher. He was motivated to attend McGill as it has one of the best teaching programs in the country, and a football team at the time that was up and coming. Before enrolling in the university, he had the opportunity for him to visit the McGill campus, Matt realized how education was as important to sport to the athletes that he met at McGill. He also enjoyed the diversity of the student body and the football team that had athletes from different disciplines and faculties.


What was the most valuable skill or life lesson that you learned at McGill?

Matt enjoyed the connections that he made at McGill, to Matt it was the first time for him to build connections and long-lasting relationships with students from diverse backgrounds, interests and areas of study. He is proud to be in touch with his friends from McGill even though they might be living in different parts of the world now.


How did studying education prepare you for your career?

Matt went into the Faculty of Education because he could not see himself doing anything else besides being a teacher. Despite the fact that he did not end up teaching in a formal classroom, his studies were invaluable to him and he believes it would be invaluable to any person looking to pursue any career path. During his undergraduate career he was able to explore how people learn, and how to effectivity communicate with people with diverse learning styles and background.


What advice would you give to someone considering an undergraduate or graduate degree in Education now?

Matt would encourage young people to pursue a degree in education because the skills gained during their studies are transferable to any career they might choose in the future. Students will be able to expand their knowledge on learning how to think, learning how other people think, learning how to communicate with a variety of different people, learning how to disseminate knowledge to different people that have different learning styles and interests.

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