I recently had the chance to ask St. Louis Blues Goalie Prospect, Luke Opilka a few questions. He’s a homegrown talent that I was very honored to get in contact with. So, thanks very much to Luke for his time. Before we get to my questions, here is a video from the St. Louis Blues YouTube channel (July 6th, 2017).
Luke Opilka Interview
- Ray: “Luke, Thanks so much for joining me to answer some questions. First off, I want to congratulate you on your hard work paying off at the 2015 NHL draft. Would you mind taking us back to the moment you found out you were selected by the Blues?”
Luke: “Thank you. The draft experience was pretty surreal. I was actually at the draft and going into that round, I was starting to think that I might get a chance to go. The Blues were coming up and when I saw Keith Tckachuk point up to where we were sitting, I started to get excited. Everyone in my family was happy to see me get picked and even happier that it was to St. Louis.”
- Ray: “Shortly after you were drafted in June (2015), you signed an entry-level deal with the Blues in August (2015). Did this come as a surprise or were you aware that it was in the works from the get-go?”
Luke: “This actually came as a real surprise. I remember being at Wisconsin and getting the call from my agent and being ecstatic. I jumped at the opportunity and have loved being a part of the organization.”
- Ray: “Effingham, Illinois is just an hour and a half away from St. Louis. With that being said, you played for the AAA Blues in 2012-13. How did you become involved as a youngster? Have you always been a Blues fan? Also, who was your favorite Blue growing up?”
Luke: “I actually played almost all of my youth hockey here in St. Louis, because there isn’t hockey anywhere close to Effingham. I have always been a Blues fan but didn’t get to make it to many games growing up. My favorite player I can remember when I was a kid was Keith Tkachuk, which is a funny coincidence because I ended up playing for him back when I played AAA. I actually got my start in hockey from my uncle who grew up playing. He was coaching at U of Illinois so I kind of got my start there. It was awesome being from here, and playing AAA here, and to be drafted here”
- Ray: “You’ve got two seasons under your belt playing for the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL (2015-16, 2016-17). Tell us something you’ve learned since beginning your OHL career? Is there anyone you’ve learned from most in particular?”
Luke: “I learned in the OHL that it’s important to be having fun while your playing, and to not take things so seriously all the time. I learned a lot from my coaches there, especially the goalie coach, Kain Tisi.”
- Ray: “You participated at Blues prospect camp in 2015, 2017, and this year (2018). How has it been to develop friendships with fellow prospects in the system? Also, when you all played paintball, was it Team Tkachuck VS Team MacInnis? Also, who were you most impressed with at camp?”
Luke: “Camps have been really fun. I think that the Blues are really serious about drafting and bringing in guys with good character. I’m pretty easy going, and I think I get along well with everyone. And I forget what team name I was on because the goalies rotated quite a bit, but I do remember I was on the winning side of paintball and it was a blast. From what I can remember, I thought that a lot of guys stood out, and there was a great pace to camp. I thought that plenty of guys had great camps and stood out. If I had to commit to the player that stood out the most, that would have to be (Jordan) Kyrou. He’s just so fast and attacks well off the rush.”
To finish things off, here is one more video from Total Goalie’s YouTube channel (October 7th, 2014).