Motew behind the mask: Asher Motew leads DePaul to new heights between the pipes

DePaul junior hockey goalie and team president Asher Motew knows what it takes to be a successful hockey player. He lives for the sport. It’s in his hockey family’s bloodline and winning a gold medal at the 2022 Maccabiah Games is possibly just the start

Motew, is a finance major and real estate minor from Highland Park, IL. His mental health mindset is a driving force in his games and life, and he knows a netminder needs to use his head as much as his pads.

“Goalies have to approach the mental game differently,” Motew said. “The biggest difference between me last year and this year preparing for games is staying in the moment and taking care of my mental health.” 

Motew is a huge advocate for mental health and not ashamed to lift his goalie mask revealing his inner struggles beneath. Motew meditates and goes to therapy to help stay focused.

“It’s hard for guys, especially in a hockey environment,” Motew said. “Everyone struggles with stuff.” 

Growing up goalie, lessons in recovery 

When Motew started playing hockey at four-years-old, he hated it. 

“My dad threw me on skates and I cried every time,” Motew said.

Motew says his dad was also a goaltender in college, playing at Indiana University, but did not want Asher to be a goalie too. 

“My dad has always been my biggest supporter,” Motew said. “My dad just wanted me to be happy and I think he’s seen all the great things that I’ve done at DePaul.”

Motew and his younger brother, Simon, had double hip injuries at the same time when Motew was 17, forcing them to take a year off hockey. Finding his way to DePaul did not come without adversity.

Because of the injuries, Motew could not walk and was immobile for almost two-and-a-half months. Not everyone fully recovers from this surgery, but he and his brother are two of the lucky ones.

“I fell under a spell of mental health stuff,” Motew said. “It was one of the toughest years. I didn’t think I’d ever get out of it.”

He turned himself around when he was sitting on the stairs of his home and heard his mom say, “Oh he’s probably done with hockey.”

“I’m very grateful, I was able to find the other side because for a while, there was a dark tunnel,” he said.

Motew credits having his brother and family to lean on as what pushed him through one of the hardest things he endured and is grateful for them. He says he would die for his family.

Motew is the fourth youngest in a family of five. His oldest brother played hockey at Plymouth State in New Hampshire, his sister used to play hockey and his little brother Simon plays in the Ontario Hockey League. 

“He’s the biggest, supportive family guy,” sophomore Vice President and defensemen Ryan Plotke said. “He’s always talking about them. He has two awesome rescue dogs that he could absolutely not live without. He spoils them and treats them like his own babies.” 

Becoming a Blue Demon

Motew found his way back to hockey after his injury and grew up playing for Team Illinois, Chicago Mission and the USHL Madison Capitols before his friend and DePaul teammate Jackson Leptich brought him here.

 “It changed everything,” Motew said. “I transferred during the second half of my freshman year.”

“When Asher transferred here, he wanted to be involved right off the bat,” last season’s President, Jake Camp, said.

Motew almost played at Ferris State in Big Rapids, MI instead of DePaul, but believes everything happens for a reason.  

“I think I’m a DePaul Blue Demon through my blood,” Motew said. “And seeing what we can do here is really special to me.”

Glad he ended up here, Motew is taking this program to new heights. 

“I love living close to my family and the environment of the city,” he said. “I am very appreciative of the life I get to live. I had a vision when I got here and kind of the way it’s going right now, I couldn’t really have imagined it any better.”  

He credits his vision with the help of Camp, and treasurer, Jake Bolger, on understanding what it is like to run a team. 

“I’m super proud of Asher,” Camp said. “He has put the program in a good direction with a 13-1 start. A lot of things we wanted to do like the black jerseys they have he is putting in motion.”

Motew notably made 47 saves against Marquette on Oct. 9, a game DePaul won 7-1.

His teammates and coaches agree that everyone needs an Asher Motew on their team, on and off the ice.

 “Asher is a hardworking leader,” Plotke said. “His leadership is like none other. He understands the program better than anyone I know.” 

Motew and Camp agree that Asher can be hard on teammates, but players need someone that pushes others to get things done. 

His friends and teammates say his optimistic, caring, hardworking, dedicated, obsessive energy helps propel the team’s success.  

“I look at it that when I’m with him I want to be a sponge,” Plotke said. “I listen and observe, soaking up everything he has in his experience of hockey and life.” 

A Goalie’s goals

Motew loves this team and everything they have accomplished.

“I am very proud of what I have been able to do here,” Motew said. “I am not done. I achieved a lot of the goals I set in 2019.”

Motew brought his goalie coach, Oliver Freij, to DePaul. They have known each other for eight years and met through Motew’s cousin.

“Coach Oliver has always seen the potential in me,” Motew said. “He pushes me every day to be a better goalie and person. At the end of the day, that’s one of the most important things ever.”

Freij describes Motew as a relentless competitor, and strong, explosive skater who is reliable and eats, breathes and sleeps DePaul hockey. 

“He has really put everything he has in the program,” Freij said. “Can’t be overstated enough. He has made a difference on and off the ice for DePaul.”

Freij credits Motew’s hockey adversity in bringing experience to his team role.

“We have a special team here,” Motew said. “Life is bigger than hockey. I care about these kids as individuals.” 

Motew wants to leave a legacy on DePaul hockey whether he is here or not, and he has done just that.

“Being president is an honor,” Motew said. He was the former Vice President. “Everything I do is for my players. I want them to have a college experience that they really love.”

Golden goalie

Motew won gold in the July 2022 Israel Maccabiah Games. 

“Winning gold was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in life,” Motew said. “We were the first team to ever win gold for the open division.”

Motew’s brother previously played in this game. 

“We celebrated religion, culture and learned things we never would’ve experienced if we didn’t play,” Motew said.

Motew gets the privilege to skate with the NHL every Summer with the help of Simon, and says his family loves the grind. 

“I think that that’s something that has translated to all of our success,” Motew said.

Prior to winning gold in 2022, Motew and teammate, Billy Paschen, played on the Chicago Cougars junior team during Covid when DePaul’s season was halted. He took a quarter off school to play with the Cougars. 

Demon time

Motew and teammates raised $40,000 for this year’s team compared to last year’s $25,000 and focused on developing relationships with companies like Reapers Hockey Association, Mo2 Properties, Goodman Elite Training, First Trust Portfolios, and Firefly Legal to help them.

This allows them to do YouTube live streams of this year’s games, have nicer accommodations at hotels, and lower the costs for players.

“The biggest thing I’ve noticed is I want to make the players and parents happy,” Motew said. “I don’t like to take no for an answer.”

When Motew looks around the room, he sees a good group of guys where everyone’s there for each other. 

“The positivity in this room is something I’ve only very rarely experienced on all the teams I’ve played on 17 years now,” Motew said.