Father on new UVM recruit plus ice chips

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The University of Vermont’s newest hockey recruit, defenseman Nick Luukko, knows his own mind, according to an expert on the subject, father Peter Luukko.

The elder Luukko is the president of the Philadelphia Flyers—he speaks fondly of John LeClair’s days there—and the COO of Comcast-Spectator. He’s also a University of Massachusetts alum, the school his son declined in favor of UVM.

The younger Luukko is a senior at The Gunnery, a prep school, and the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder won’t arrive on the Burlington campus until 2011 after a year’s physical and competitive growth in the USHL, the country’s top junior hockey league.

“He had a number of various schools from a number of conferences contact him,” said Peter Luukko, a board member of the UMass school of management. “At the end of the day, it came down to UMass and UVM.

“He liked the setting of the university, the fact the team is so much a part of the fabric not only of the school, but of Burlington and the State of Vermont. That seemed unique to only a few programs in the country,” Peter Luukko said. “The school itself is fabulous and for him in many ways the right size.”

It certainly didn’t hurt that the elder Luukko was familiar with UVM nor that LeClair “had nothing but great things to say about going to school there.”

Both Luukkos were very impressed with head coach Kevin Sneddon as well as the rest of the staff. In addition, with the Catamounts scheduled to lose five defensemen over the next two years, Nick Luukko would have an opportunity to play immediately.

Conceding his fatherly eye in evaluating his son, Peter Luukko said, “His game is hockey intelligence. He makes the great first pass out of the zone. His game is defending and making that great first pass.”

Dad added of Son, “From an offensive perspective, he’ll go up, rush the puck and shoot, but it’s always based on the situation. He’s a shutdown defender with offensive upside … a good skater who can block shots, defend, pick the puck away, move it quickly up ice and then join the rush.”

Ice chips: Norwich alum Keith Aucoin was named the January player of the month for the American Hockey League after scoring 35 points in 14 games for the Hershey Bears … UVM alum Dean Strong has joined Norwich alum Rick Cleaver with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL … After playing for one ECHL team and two AHL teams this year, former UVM defenseman Kenny MacAulay joined Zagreb Medvescak in the same Russian league in which all-time UVM great Eric Perrin plays for Omsk Avangard … Missed it earlier, but Sports Illustrated hockey guru Michael Farber named UVM great Martin St. Louis to his all-decade team for the 2000s … Former UVM great Tim Thomas a former Bruin? According to an earlier report from TorontoSun.com, Boston is rumored to be looking for more scoring help and offering the reigning Vezina Trophy winner (and current U.S. Olympian) as the bait. Teams mentioned include Chicago, Dallas, St. Louis and Columbus as in need of goaltending help … When former UVM goalie Joe Fallon joined the Chicago Blackhawks for one game, but didn’t play, he became the second Vermont goalie to make such an appearance. Andrew Allen dressed as a backup for the Florida Panthers 2001-02 seson …

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