Steamboat Springs native Coon returning to Colorado with NCAA D-I Air Force commitment
Lucas Coon said early talks about playing hockey at Air Force were “nothing serious.”
Spring ahead a couple years and the Steamboat Springs native will officially enroll at the Colorado Springs-based academy this coming fall.
“I originally started talking to Air Force my sophomore year of high school, and they just contacted me after I met the coach (Frank Serratore) just randomly at a Colorado Springs hotel,” Coon said. “In the summers, I would go to their ID camps getting exposure. Then my senior year of high school, playing on the prep team I got off to a really good start and had eight goals in the first seven games (for Shattuck-St. Mary’s). They called me and not to long after I got offered went on my official visit and committed last March.”
Knowing he was capable of playing NCAA Division I hockey, Coon said he wanted to come play close to home after being away for so long.
“Air Force was always on my list of schools I wanted to go to, and by the time I was a junior in high school, I became really interested in becoming a pilot and obviously, the academy is a great spot to do that,” said Coon. “Another reason is the fact that I will be able to serve my country. It gives me tremendous pride to have the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself and the five-year service is perfect for that. Also, they have really good opportunities that set you up for success after graduation, and an unbelievable educational system.”
This season playing for the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes, Coon has posted four goals and eight points in 19 games.
“On a personal level, I think I have had a really good of development,” Coon said. “Our coach (Jason Fortier) has done a really good job of holding me accountable, making sure I have really good practice habits, stuff like that. I am happy with how I have been playing, although I do feel like I have another level to get to before the end of the season in terms of production, helping my team win games by scoring more and making plays.
“As far as the team goes, as a group we haven’t played the way we know we can consistently throughout the year. We have a lot of talent in our room and things just haven’t been going right, and we are having trouble scoring. Despite that, we have a really good attitude and still believe we can make a push for the playoffs.”
Coon said he was introduced to hockey by his brothers and started playing hockey in second grade with the Squirt hockey team in his hometown.
“The Avs had a role in keeping me interested in hockey,” noted Coon. “I grew up watching Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, and Ryan O’Reilly, then later on Nathan MacKinnon – all those young studs who came in and made them a super exciting team to watch.”
Growing up, Coon played for the Steamboat Springs youth program his whole youth hockey career other than his 14U season when he played for the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders with head coach Nils Satterstrom, “a huge positive influence on my hockey career.”
“He is a Shattuck-St. Mary’s alum and helped me get into the school,” said Coon. “We are still friends to this day.”
In Steamboat, Coon was part of two state championships at Pee Wee A and Bantam A.
Moving forward, Coon has lofty goals that he wants to strive to achieve.
“My short-term goals as far as hockey is help my team at Air Force win a couple Atlantic Hockey conference championships while playing a big role all four years,” said Coon. “In school, I want to achieve good grades and build really strong relationships with teammates, classmates and staff at the academy. I’m hoping while I’m at the academy that I can get invited to an NHL development camp just for the exposure and experience.
“For my long-term goals, I want to graduate from the academy and become a pilot. I’m hoping I will get a chance to play pro hockey while completing my service.”
Photo/Danne´ Braden Photography
— Matt Mackinder
(Feb. 20, 2021)