Terrace’s Luke Gordon is on the ice in Calgary, and one step closer to his goal of a spot on the 2011/2012 roster for the Hitmen, a Western Hockey League team.
Gordon received a call to head to Calgary for Aug.1, and has been there ever since training for the upcoming season.
And while final decisions for the team won’t be set until mid-September, general manager for the Hitmen, Kelly Kisio, said the team’s plans do include Gordon this season.
“We think he has made a lot of good progression here in the last couple years and worked out hard all summer. He is bigger and stronger, and we think he is going to be a good player for us,” Kisio said, adding he believes Gordon will be a solid player with the team for a few years to come.
Gordon is not new to the Hitmen organization, he has been on the team’s protected list for two years, and played two games with them last season – one against the Red Deer Rebels, and another against the Swift Current Broncos.
Currently, Gordon skates an hour and a half in the morning before heading over to the gym for another hour and a half workout with the Hitmen’s trainer.
Because there is no year-round ice available in Terrace, he said training at home can prove difficult.
At the end of the month, Gordon will take part in a training camp and, following that, exhibition games are set to begin Sept. 4.
He said after these games, the final roster will be solidified sometime mid-month.
However, Gordon explains even then nothing is certain.
“Things can change all throughout the year, you can be sent down, or brought up,” Gordon said.
“After that there can be trades…..it’s a battle every time you are on the ice,” he continued.
Gordon has been very clear in the past about the fact that his hockey sights are set on the WHL. He says his backup plan would likely entail looking for a spot in the BCHL playing with a Junior A team, but says this is something he’s not even thinking about at the moment.
“I am hoping not to explore that option,” Gordon explained.
Gordon has previously enjoyed two solid years of major midget hockey with the Prince George Cariboo Cougars, performing as one of the team’s leaders in points in his second year.
Head coach for the Cougars Trevor Sprague expressed confidence that Gordon will be playing in the WHL this upcoming season.
“Just on the quality of player he is and the quality of person he is, he is a guy that’s going to play in the WHL this year,” Sprague said.
He explained that Gordon’s focus on hockey included moving away from his friends and family, and never having excuses on why he couldn’t get out on the ice and perform, as well as acting as a leader in the dressing room – especially during his second season.
He said WHL teams are looking to the north to find more of these types of players.
“Those teams are looking to have more northern guys on their teams,” Sprague said, pointing out one of the reasons behind this is because northern hockey players are able to travel long distances and still perform well.
“You look at a guy like Gordon – he can get off a bus and play a hockey game,” Sprague explained.
Assistant coach and scout for the Hitmen last season, Brad Whelen, had previously said a good summer of getting physically stronger would bode well for Gordon, easing his jump to the WHL.
And working out is certainly how Gordon spent his summer, said Terry Monture, who trains Gordon when he is in Terrace.
Monture has worked with Gordon for the past five years, and was also his coach in mini-ball basketball and lacrosse.
He says what sets Gordon apart from other athletes is his level of commitment.
This summer, Gordon trained five out of seven days a week, surpassed goals he was given for the summer, and managed to tack on another 10 pounds for the upcoming season.
All of his visits, and socializing with friends and family, were second to eating, training and sleeping, Monture explained.
“And if you want to not only play at the next level but be great at the next level, that is what you have to do,” he said, adding you have to be willing to sacrifice things in life in order to get there,
something Gordon has proved able to do.