Back Where He Belongs

Luke Hughes Is Excited To Return To The Ice With His NTDP Teammates

Growing up in a household full of hockey players, it is no wonder that Luke Hughes ranks among the best players in the country. 

 

The University of Michigan commit is currently back on skates and back on the ice and preparing for another outstanding season with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.

 

As dawn breaks on another season at USA Hockey Arena, Hughes’ excitement grows as he enters his second year in Plymouth, Mich.

 

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said the 17-year-old defenseman. “You get to compete against some of the best players in the country and the environment is unbelievable. There are so many areas where you can get better here and one thing I’d really like to say is you get out of it what you put into it.”

 

Already tabbed as one of the top prospects in the 2021 NHL Draft, it was crucial for Hughes to continue working on his craft during the nationwide shutdown that arose during the past six months. With rinks closed everywhere, he found new ways to maintain his daily regimen off the ice and in the weight room.

 

“It was a tough summer but I thought I did really good job at training to stay fit and get better,” Hughes said.

 

Following in his older brother Quinn’s skate tracks, Luke has proven his skills as poised defenseman with the fluid skating abilities as well as excellent offensive instincts.

 

Even with numerous family role models to look up to, Hughes finds admiration in watching and learning from other players at the highest level.

 

“There’s a bunch of guys I really like to watch. Two of which are obviously my brothers [Quinn and Jack], but also Shea Theodore on Las Vegas,” he said. “The way he gets up the ice and the way he skates. He’s someone I really like to watch and model my game after.”

 

As Hughes and his NTDP teammates returned to the ice following authorization from the State of Michigan to reopen ice rinks, they were more than ready to make up for lost time. 

“It’s amazing seeing the boys after not seeing them for four or five months,” said Hughes, who notched 28 points (7 goals, 21 assists) in 48 games last season. “It was crazy to get on the ice again and know things are starting up and you’re going to get to play some games soon.”

 

Yet with all the anticipation to get back in the rink, the time spent off the ice allowed Hughes to set his sights on his goals, not only for himself, but for his team this upcoming 2020-21 season.

 

“You know going into the program your goal for two years is to obviously get better, but also to win Worlds. I think as a team we’re really excited for that,” Hughes said. 

 

“All the same I’ve been told to just have fun while I’m playing hockey. At the end of the day it’s just a game so you’ve got to enjoy it and have fun.”

 

Sidney Binger is the 2020-21 Brian Fishman Intern.

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