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LOCAL YOUTH FINDS WAY TO WHL DRAFT

Wednesday, 06.06.2007 / 12:12 PM / Features
By Matt Rosen
Watch the video of Luke Moffat at his recent practice session 700K

It’s the Friday before Memorial Day and people are beginning to leave town for the holiday weekend.  Some are headed to Lake Pleasant or Lake Havasu, while others have decided to bear through the dirty water and go tubing down the Salt River with 15 of their closest friends.  Some people are going to Disneyland while others are setting up for a big backyard barbeque and a pool party.  But Memorial Day weekend for Luke Moffat is just another weekend, time to lace up his skates and play hockey.

It’s noon in Phoenix when Moffat walks into the teeth-chattering, ice-cold Ozzie Ice rink wearing shorts and a t-shirt and carrying a bag full of hockey gear for his one-on-one lesson with instructor Michel Couvrette. The hockey season is over, school has just let out for summer but Luke is still thinking about the ice and the next time he can get on it.  For three weeks straight there has not been a day he hasn’t been on the ice doing drills, working on his stick-handling, trying to improve his shot, all to live up to the potential that many see in him.

That potential was seen as Moffat was drafted by the Kelowna Rockets with the number two pick in the first round of the 2007 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.  Moffat, just 14-years of age, knows that being drafted doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll play in the WHL, (arguably the best junior league in North America) but it does mean his options are fatuitous.  Luke may want to stay in school and go to college.  He may want to play junior hockey.  Either way the future looks bright. 

Luke, who stands in at 5’11”, 160-pounds, started skating at the age of five.  His father Kenny, is a Vancouver, BC native, which means that hockey is in the young Moffat’s blood. Luke began playing both roller and ice hockey before primarily focusing on game on ice. 

Luke has a decision to make however, if he plays in the WHL, he loses his college eligibility, so as a16 year-old, if he chooses to play junior hockey, he would not be allowed to participate in NCAA competition. 

Next year Moffat will is planning to stay in Arizona and continue to develop his skills. The minimum age requirement to play in the WHL is 16, which means that Luke would have to wait one more year before joining Kelowna. 

Moffat takes power skating lessons once a week with former NHLer Jim Johnson and Mark Chacio and credits them for helping him improve upon his skating.

When asked what his least favorite part about the game of hockey was, his response after a long ten second pause was simply, “I don’t know.”

“Winning, having fun out there with your friends, just playing” is what Luke says with a big smile on face are his favorite things about hockey.

Moffat has played the last two seasons with the Phoenix Firebirds, a bantam AAA team he was the captain of, that went on to play for a National Championship.  Although his team was unsuccessful in their bid for a championship, it was an experience the 14-year old will never forget.

When Luke is not on the ice, he and his family head to Bartlett Lake where he straps on waterskis and tears up the water.  On land he likes to hit the gym and go mountain biking to improve his cardio. 

Luke is hoping one day his hard work and dedication will get him to the NHL but that does not mean he has sacrificed school whatsoever as evidenced by his 3.90 grade point average.

“I’m proud he’s a good kid” says Luke’s dad who has a grin from ear to ear watching his son practice.  But Kenny is not one of those parents who push their children into doing things they don’t want to do.

“We’ve got tons of great memories already.  If he doesn’t do it anymore we’ll figure something else to do together, we’re good buddies.”

For a list of Moffat’s accomplishments, click here!

For more information on youth hockey in the valley contact Scott Storkan at Scott.Storkan@PhoenixCoyotes.com
 
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