By Tim Morris
As his playing time with the Estevan Bruins of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League decreased, Liam Lucas knew the Bruins were looking to trade their 5-10 forward.
“I knew I was going to be traded,” recalled Lucas. “It was my decision where to go. When I was told Ottawa had interest, I knew right away that’s where I wanted go. They know how to win.”
“They’re a championship organization that has an amazing past and present,” he continued. “They’re always a contender.”
There was another reason why Lucas wanted to play for the Ottawa Junior Senators.
“I’m billeting with my best friend, Rorke Applebee” he pointed out. “I’m super happy to be reunited with him. We’ve been friends since we were four.”
Besides playing youth and prep school hockey together, they played soccer until they were 13. They were on the national team that played in London, England and just last summer worked together for a landscaping company.
“We’ve helped each other get to the next level,” Lucas remarked. “We always give each other advice.”
As happy as Lucas is to be with the Junior Senators, the team is just as happy to have him aboard.
Ottawa head coach Kyle Makaric liked that Lucas could play a number of roles for his team.
“He’s a two-way player with great skating ability,” said Makaric. “From what we’ve seen he’s a good stabilizing force. He’s shown flashes of being a good offensive player and he’s shown flashes of being a great penalty killer and face-off man.”
It didn’t take Lucas long to make an impact with his new club. He scored the game-winning goal and added an assist against the Cornwall Colts in his first game in an Ottawa jersey.
“That was amazing, one for the books,” noted Lucas.
Lucas has found that one of the keys to Ottawa’s success is that the coaches do everything they can to make their players better.
“The coaches take time to show you what you need to work on,” the forward explained. “I’ve worked hard to be more creative going to the net and to be a 200-foot player.”
His vision on the ice is one of Lucas’s key assets. It enables him to see open space and make that ‘nice pass’ that leads to a scoring opportunity.
“I love seeing the other guys score,” said Lucas. “I can skate with the puck, keep my head up and make the right play. Whatever it takes, I just want to contribute to our success.”
Being smooth and fast on his skates has made Lucas a productive scorer from prep school to junior hockey. He’s averaged more than a point a game for his career. Lucas has scored nine points in the 12 games he played, with four goals and five assists.
Hockey has taken the native of Pointe-Claire, Quebec, to Vermont, USA (prep hockey), Saskatchewan and now Ottawa. Along the journey, Lucas noted, his parents, Danny and Monique have been behind him all the way.
“They’ve been my heroes,” Lucas said of his parents. “All the time and passion they’ve spent on me to help me move to the next level. My dad was my first coach and I still look to him for advice.”
Clearly, Mr. Lucas has provided his son with valuable guidance.