July 6, 2018
In roughly five years, Cahaba Heights resident Lucas Moore has gone from having never played ice hockey to an invitation to train and compete at the highest level of youth hockey, an AAA program.
Moore, who turned 15 earlier this year, was one of 15 players named to the 15U Elite Hockey Program based in Guilford, Connecticut.
“I wanted to take my career to the next level, and it’s hard to do that in the Southeast. I decided to make the move to be able to hone my skills up there,” Moore said.
He will report to Connecticut this month for a week-long training camp and join the team to compete in the Junior Chowder Cup on July 19-22 in Massachusetts.
He will move full-time in August to compete for the 15U team in more than 60 Tier 1 AAA hockey games in the East Coast Elite League and Atlantic Youth Hockey League (AYHL) until March. While there, he will go to school online and receive personalized on-ice skill training twice a week in addition to team practice sessions.
“Lucas is a hard-working kid, very nice. His family was extremely awesome through the whole process, and we’re excited to have them on board,” said first-year 15U head coach Peter Gintoli. “He’s going to have the opportunity to play in a hockey hotbed in New England.”
Moore’s hockey journey began at age 9 when he attended a “learn to play” class at the Pelham Youth Hockey League.
“I’m not sure a week has passed since then that he hasn’t been at the rink at least once,” said his mother, Jennifer Crook.
By age 11, Moore was on a team and began playing on a travel team the next season. Last year, he traveled to Huntsville to play on the travel team Huntsville Chargers.
“All of my friends had already started when they were 3, but I worked every weekend in my yard with my net working on everything I could to catch up, and I caught up the last year,” Moore said.
Prior to hockey, Moore played football and soccer but wasn’t in position to score much. When he switched to hockey, he embraced becoming a power forward and being a big, physical scoring threat in front of the net. He said his experience with the sport makes him want to encourage others to try it.
Moore’s size and work ethic has played to his advantage for his quick rise, according to Erik Hudson, director of Pelham Youth Hockey.
“The biggest thing to starting so late in his career was the fundamental skating ability. He’s worked really hard on that the last couple of years and he’s really made the difference,” Hudson said. “He’s learned to skate with the best of them by practicing his craft. He’s intelligent so he sees the ice well. It will be good for him to play at a higher level so he can push himself every single day.”
And that is exactly what Moore plans to do.
“I look forward to being able to wake up every day and do what I love. I think it will help me be a better person and focus on what my dreams are,” he said.
Those dreams are to one day play professional hockey, or hold a job within the sport.
While Moore is now a year removedfrom the Pelham program, Hudson said he’s glad to see him receive the Elite level opportunity.
“I think it’s fantastic that he’s leaving to ultimately pursue his dream of playing junior, college and pro hockey. Depending on how hard he works will depend on the results he gets out of it,” Hudson said.
His eight months in Connecticut will also bring Moore exposure like he hasn’t had before, prior to his age bracket’s draft year in the United States Hockey League (USHL) in May 2018.
Since 2010, the Elite Hockey Program has had more than 70 players committed to play college hockey and nearly a dozen drafted by the USHL and five by the NHL.
“Lucas is a big kid already, which is very attractable when it comes to scouts or anyone watching,” Gintoli said. “We want to work with him on his skating and where he can be on the ice systematically ... We really take time with our kids and our players. We’re really motivated. We want to pull the best out of everybody.”
About the Elite Hockey Program:
The Elite Hockey Program operates out of the Northford Ice Pavilion in Northford, CT. The Elite Hockey Program is located right outside of New Haven, CT, just a few miles away from NCAA division one powerhouses, Yale University and Quinnipiac University. The Northford Ice Pavilion is a three sheet facility, equipped with custom locker rooms for the Elite Hockey teams and 5,000 sq. ft. training facility for program’s strength and conditioning.
At the Elite Hockey Program, we provide a complete hockey experience, to help our players prepare for their next level of play. It is our developmental path that our players are given, the exposure they receive and the location we are in that makes us an attractive destination for a strong student athlete. We strongly believe in our culture and consistency. In order to develop a more complete player, we focus our energy on individual player development and teach our players to understand how their role fits into the identity of our team’s success.