NHL goalie Eddie Läck to have major impact in ASU hockey coaching role

The veteran netminder joins the coaching staff with over 140 games of NHL experience

The life of an NHL journeyman is unpredictable. Such a lifestyle was the case for 31-year-old professional netminder Eddie Läck.

Läck, a Norrtälje, Sweden, native, registered over 140 games in his NHL career.

He made his NHL debut in 2013 for the Vancouver Canucks.  

During the course of his career, he also suited up for the Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils.

After dedicating virtually his entire life to being a hockey goalie, Läck joined ASU hockey this past summer as a volunteer coach.

Although he’ll be behind the bench instead of in between the pipes, Läck is optimistic about joining the program and experiencing coaching for the first time, alongside head coach Greg Powers.

“I feel like the main attraction was just that this is an up-and-coming program,” Läck said. “I talked to Greg a lot and the other coaches and met the guys and everyone is really excited about the program.”

Prior to joining ASU, injuries had begun to hinder his chances of finding a niche with an NHL team, so in the meantime, Läck wanted to stay involved with the sport in other ways while he recovers.

“I’ve played for such a long time and I feel like it would be such a big step just to quit all of a sudden, so I just wanted to stay within the game and see where it takes me,” he said.

To this point, the game has taken him all over the world. Now, as a coach in Arizona, he’s entering a new role that he can add value to as a former player fresh out of professional hockey.

He understands the important components needed to be an effective coach for a rising Division I program.

“I feel like the first thing is how you interact with the guys and know (when) it’s time to push them or times to rest or build them up. It’s a very fine line, and that’s where one of my biggest strengths comes in as a people person."

Although coaches are responsible for mainly pushing and teaching their players, Läck also believes it is just as important to listen to his players.

"The second one is just seeing what they want and what they need on the ice and take them to that next level.”

At the crux of Läck's coaching style lies perhaps his biggest asset to the Sun Devil hockey program; his personality. Since he began playing, Läck has been known for his outgoing and comical attitude both on and off the ice.

Läck believes his sense of humor spilled into his game as a player, and it's even more apparent in his coaching style at ASU.

“It’s something I take as it comes,” he said. “It’s just my personality. Not everyone appreciates that loosey-goosey feeling and the happy guy in the locker room so there is a time for it where I can be a little bit loose in the locker room, and there are times when we are on the ice to be a little more serious.”

Click here to read full transcript here Video credit: Ryan Tisminezky (@tisminezky on Twitter)

His rambunctious personality is infectious throughout the Sun Devils’ locker room and Powers, a former ASU goaltender in the late 1990s, said it adds to the program's culture.

“He’s just a loveable guy,” Powers said. "His overall impact on our program because of the kind of guy he is, it’s going to be huge. He’s awesome to have around. He’s just got a way with connecting with these guys.

"Whether he sits down in the lounge with them and eats next to them, (it does) not feel like a coach is sitting next to them and (he) makes them feel like he’s a mentor they can bounce things off of and talk to."

Freshman goaltender Justin Robbins is one player who has utilized Läck as a reliable source for inspiration and ideas.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Eddie,” Robbins said. “I’ve gotten to spend more one-on-one time with him, and he definitely pushes us and focuses on some of the little details that can really help us.”

Junior forward Johnny Walker shares similar thoughts on the new coach.

“Eddie’s great,” Walker said. “He’s a really great guy and to have an NHL presence in our locker room, he did exactly what we are all trying to do right now. We all love having Eddie, and we’re really fortunate.”

While he’s at ASU, Läck knows that he has a rare opportunity to help mentor a team that has a lot of potential this season.

“For me, it’s all about taking it one day at a time,” he said. “Most guys try to ‘dream away’ and that’s fine, but once we are here and we’re at the rink every day, to be able to go where your dreams want to take you, you have to be able to put the work in here first and that’s what I preach too.”

In a pivotal season for the hockey program, Coach Powers knows that this year should see even more improvement than last, and the team will heavily rely on Läck’s contributions.

“He’s jumped in with both feet and he’s one of us,” Powers said. “It’s felt like that from day one. He understands what it takes and he has the personality where he can connect with everybody. He’s going to make a huge overall impact all over our program.”

Reach the reporter at averyklatsky@gmail.com and follow @averyklatsky on Twitter. 

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