Steamboat’s Meghan Lukens prepares to take on college hockey
Steamboat Springs — Those worried that Steamboat Springs High School senior Meghan Lukens might have trouble keeping up with the speed of hockey at the next level need to look no further than Howelsen Ice Arena on just about any afternoon.
It’s there where Lukens plays like one of the guys.
Lukens was the only girl to make the high school boys hockey team, in addition to her role as an alternate captain on the Steamboat Springs girls U19 team.
In the seven practices a week, 13 hours of ice time and 17 hours each week of training, Lukens realized something she wanted to do for a long time. The 17-year-old will play hockey at Division III Concordia University in Wisconsin next season.
“My mom and I were talking, and I really wanted to play on a dedicated hockey team,” Lukens said. “I wanted to go out and be different. I wanted to go out and play hockey. There isn’t a future for me in hockey, so I might as well embrace it while I can.”
Her ice time with the guys has helped her girls team.
“She’s faster than most in the league.” U19 girls coach Kent Foster said. “Her experience on the high school team helps out. She’s able to bring that to the girls’ level.”
Lukens started playing hockey at age 11 at the urging of her younger brother. From there, she fell in love with the game, playing on local girls teams.
But it wasn’t until two Christmases ago that she started to get serious about potentially playing beyond high school.
She sent an e-mail to Division I and III coaches across the country and went to camps during the summer in Boulder, Wisconsin, New York and Toronto.
Falcons coach Jim Ingman had seen tape of Lukens playing and decided to send an assistant coach to the camp in Wisconsin.
“She’s just an overall athlete,” Ingman said. “She’ll do a lot for us. Once we’re able to get her on the ice every day at this level, she’s only going to get better.”
Lukens will enter a Falcons program on the rise.
Concordia opened play four years ago with a winless season. After trudging through a 15-54-9 streak the past three seasons, the Falcons are 11-9-3 overall and are third in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association standings.
With 11 graduating seniors on the Falcons team, Ingman said Lukens should have the opportunity to play right away. He said her time on the boys team will help her adjust to the speed of the game at the collegiate level.
Ingman said Lukens seemed like a natural fit after her visit to the school. He said her size and ability on the puck should make her an ideal fit for the Falcons.
“It’s her strength on the puck, around the puck and in the corners,” he said. “Those things go a long way, whether it’s men’s or women’s hockey.”
For Lukens, who plans to study secondary education with hopes of becoming a history teacher, said she is glad the vision she had at such a young age finally has come to fruition.
“I think it’s been worth it,” she said. “Granted, I am tired a lot. But I love hockey. If I didn’t want to play this much hockey, I wouldn’t.”
— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@SteamboatToday.com
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