March 23, 2023

Plymouth, Michigan — Logan Cooley Said he can’t wait to play for Team USA at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships in Edmonton on Aug. 9-20, with the start of the season continuing at the University of Minnesota and possibly ending with the Arizona Coyotes.

“I feel really good,” the 18-year-old center said last week at the National Youth Assessment Camp at USA Hockey Arena. “My technique feels sharp. Skating feels good. I’m not tired at all. I’m ready.”

It’s been a busy few months for Cooley, and he’s just getting started.

He delivered an assist in a 3-2 win over Slovakia in the preliminaries on Dec. 26, the United States’ only game ahead of the 2022 IIHF World Youth Championship, which was closed on Dec. 29 due to coronavirus concerns. day was canceled.

He played 51 games for the U.S. National Hockey Development Program last season with 75 points (27 goals, 48 ‚Äč‚Äčassists) in 51 games.

The Wolves selected Cooley with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NHL draft on July 7, and general manager Bill Armstrong said: “He’s exactly what we need, and he has the opportunity to be the No. 1 center in the National Hockey League. .”

“Obviously being drafted, especially a top-five pick, is very surreal, it’s something I’ve always dreamed of,” Cooley said. “But spending that moment in Montreal with my family, it was very special. .”

VIDEO: Cooley selects him third overall in 2022 NHL draft on Coyotes

Cooley flew by private jet from Montreal to Phoenix, where he attended a press conference between Armstrong and Arizona’s other first-round picks: center Conor Geekie (No. 11) and defenseman Maveric Lamoureux (No. 29). rank). He then got some realism at the Coyotes development camp, from fitness tests off the ice to racing on the ice.

His biggest gain?

“I just think how hard it is to break the lineup in the NHL, how hard the players work, I also need to get stronger,” Cooley said. “One year of college was really helpful. Keep going, and then I think I’ll be ready.”

Cooley (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) is back in the Pittsburgh area, skating at the Pittsburgh Penguins driving range in Cranberry, Pennsylvania.He shares the ice rink with several NHL players, including the Vancouver Canucks forward JT MillerNew York Rangers Center Vincent Trochek and the anaheim ducks goalie John Gibson, he showed Cooley how difficult it is to score at the highest level of the sport. Cooley said Gibson barely left him any nets, then pulled out his gloves to make a quick save.

“Obviously the NHL goalie is really good, so trying to make my shots harder and more accurate,” Cooley said.

Team USA head coach Nate Lehmann said Cooley played a lot in the Dec. 26 game against Slovakia, which led him to think Cooley would be counted on at the end of the game, which has been rescheduled and will be played in seven. Started again after a few months. NHL Network will provide Full coverage of the event.

Cooley has been impressive since his first national youth assessment camp.

“He’s ready to handle the ball,” Leaman said. “He’s strong, he can play a lot of balls and he’s willing to defend. He’s going to play a lot of balls for us.”

defender Luke HughesSelected by the New Jersey Devils with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft and playing at the University of Michigan, he said he and his future Big Ten opponents chased each other during post-practice battle drills.

“I think he’s obviously a very skilled player,” Hughes said of Cooley. “He can skate. His hockey awareness is very good. He’s bigger than expected. He’s strong on the field, and his stick is strong and fast. He’s a great player. It would be great to play with him in Minnesota. interesting.”

Cooley will be home for a few days after the World Junior Division before heading to Minnesota for his freshman season.

after that?

“Obviously, you know, I want to play in the NHL in the fastest way possible,” Cooley said. “I got a chance to talk to Bill Armstrong a little bit, but that’s also going to come down to what type of season I have and how well I’m out there. The rest will take care of itself.”

Photo: Kelsey Grant/Arizona Coyotes

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