VOORHEES, N.J. – From the little league rink at Ice Line Arena in West Goshen to the professional practice ice at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., 18-year-old Westtown native Nick Luukko has come a long way to make his National Hockey League dream a reality.
“I remember back to when I learned to play at Ice Line, when I was four and five,” said Luukko, who was all smiles after finishing up Day 5 of an exhausting nine-day prospect camp with the Philadelphia Flyers. “Starting with the Quakers and then the JR Flyers, I always wanted to chase the dream (of playing professional hockey). Some kids get older and lose interest, but for me I never lost interest.
“Growing up in the area, this is pretty special for me.”
With the 179th selection (sixth round) in the 2010 NHL entry draft, the Flyers select defenseman Nick Luukko out of The Gunnery.
Luukko, son of Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko, is a native of West Chester, Pa. and spent his freshman year of high school playing in the Inter-County Scholastic Hockey League for AAA team, Malvern Prep.
Despite the belief that Nick was drafted strictly due to his father holding water with the organization, it’s not exactly true. At 6-foot-2, 180 lbs., he has the size and skill to become a professional but needs to fill out to become effective at the higher levels. Add on the fact that the Flyers organization has had their eye on Nick growing up, as well as when he would work out with the Flyers during the offseason, and the choice was more familiar than anything.
“Nick possesses poise well beyond his years,” said Gunnery coach Craig Badger. “He never panics and most always makes the right decision. This approach will allow him to find success at every level.”
Armed with a coveted right-handed shot, Luukko led the Gunnery blue line in points with 15.