When a player in any sport is said to be carrying lots of baggage it could easily be a red flag for the coaching staff but in the case of one Red Deer Rebel he’s bringing something positive with him to the lineup.
Twenty-year-old Lukas Sutter has the four years experience in the WHL, the Memorial Cup pressure from last year with Saskatoon, a stint at an NHL camp with the Winnipeg Jets and then there’s the name on the back of the sweater.
But the levelheaded young man seems to have things all put into perspective as far as the ‘baggage’ is concerned.
“You come to the rink every day and it doesn’t really matter what your name is or what you’ve done in the past,” he said. “You put your work boots on and you go to work.”
The son of Rich Sutter, Lukas says if you ask his coach or any of his teammates you’ll get the same answer – it’s what’s expected of you when you wear the Rebels’ uniform.
He says it’s up to the core leadership in the dressing room to show the way by pulling their weight and so far he’s off to a good start with a couple of goals in two Rebel victories.
“You look at my line mates (Rhyse Dieno and Brooks Maxwell) and they’re both very talented hockey players and it’s pretty easy to play with them. And it’s my job to get them the puck and to get in front of the net and I’ve been pretty fortunate to bang a couple in.”
The recent experience at the NHL camp in Winnipeg has allowed Lukas to get a little more insight into the world of professional hockey even though he had plenty of opportunity to see that given the family tree.
But this was really a front row seat for him and he made sure he paid attention to what was happening around him
“I think the biggest thing is you see the professionals hockey players, how they carry themselves on and off the ice,” he said.
Practices at that level are somewhat similar he said but he took note of what these pros did in order to make sure they took care of themselves off the ice with regard to the rest, nutrition and workouts.
He admits it is taking some time to adjust to being in Red Deer after four years in Saskatoon with his billet family and of course the friendships he forged with his teammates. There was also the ties within the community as a junior hockey player he had to leave behind.
“For me as a 20-year-old it was time for a change of scenery, whether it was pro hockey or coming to Red Deer.”
As far as the relationship with his coach, Lukas says he has an arrangement with his uncle.
“We kind of made a deal. At the rink it’s Brent and I’m Luke but away from the rink if I ever need any help he’s still my uncle but it’s something you have to kind of park when you’re at the rink.”