In this week’s installment of 10 Questions With…, Cheshire native Luke Curadi stops by to talk hockey.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: After your junior year at Notre Dame-West Haven in 2007-2008, you decided to make the move to junior hockey with the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack. How did you decide that junior hockey was the best option for you (as opposed to prep school or continuing with your high school team)?
LUKE CURADI: I wasn’t really approached by prep schools at the time, but from what I was told by a lot people who either coached or had played Division 1 and professional hockey, that going to juniors would have been beneficial for me. I tried out for Cedar Rapids in the USHL the summer before my Senior year at Notre Dame and got cut, but it showed me what I had to work for. Then some NAHL and EJHL teams contacted me, but the JR Wolfpack organization really showed me that I could use them as a stepping stone to get to the next level.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: In 2009-2010, you moved on to the Penticton Vees of the BCHL, a Junior A hockey league located in British Columbia, Canada. Geographically, you went from playing right up the road in Cromwell, to traveling 2800 miles away to Canada. Were you ever apprehensive about going so far away to play hockey?
LUKE CURADI: Absolutely not. The idea of playing for a high quality Jr. A team in Canada in Penticton excited me. I did miss home, but I was always either playing hockey or hanging with the team so I didn’t ever have time to dwell on being home sick.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: This past season you played for the Dubuque (IA) Fighting Saints of the USHL and won the Clark Cup title. Coming into this year, as a first-year expansion USHL franchise, did you/your teammates think a championship was even within reach?
LUKE CURADI: I knew in my mind that I wanted to win it all going into my final year of junior, and I was extremely excited because I could also see the amount of talent we had. Our team struggled to find our groove in the first month of being together, but then all of a sudden it clicked and we came together and put up a string of W’s. Towards the end of the season, I think we all thought that we had something special, but we took one day at a time and worked hard.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Who were some of the top players you faced this year in Dubuque?
LUKE CURADI: The USHL is filled with talent. I think the top 2 lines of every team had DI college commitments. But in my mind, the best players in the league was the top line on my Dubuque team in Vinny Saponari, John Gaudreau, Zemgus Girgensons.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: What are your biggest strengths as a hockey player?
LUKE CURADI: I believe that I’ve learned to play a smart, physical brand of hockey. I’m not going to put up a ton of points, however I think that I have a good mind for the offensive zone.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: This fall you will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on a Division 1 hockey scholarship. How you did you decide that RPI was the right school for you?
LUKE CURADI: I was talking to a number of schools before I committed, but the thing that helped me choose RPI, if not for the fact that the program is on a huge upswing, but that it felt like home to me. It was the only school I could actually see myself at for four years. The team has a ton of skilled and hard working players, but there is a tremendous amount of character in that locker room.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: What professional (or college) player do you pattern your style after?
LUKE CURADI: I try to watch all the big defensive defenseman. Mike Komisarek and Andy Sutton are guys who I’ve always looked up to, but the guy who I really try to model my play after is Douglas Murray on San Jose. He’s a big man who can use his body to do his job real well.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Who has had the biggest influence on your hockey career to date and why?
LUKE CURADI: My parents. They were the ones who woke me up early in the mornings to take me to games or practices and supported me financially and emotionally through the good and bad times. They were always there for me and I felt that the best way I could start to repay them was to be a good person… and I knew getting a scholarship wouldn’t hurt either. And also, my trainer Mike Bouchard, who has pushed me to be the best athlete possible every summer for the past 5 years and has prepared me for every year.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: What advice do you have for other young players coming up that want to take their game to the next level?
LUKE CURADI: Be smart about the route you take to get there. There are very few kids who can go straight from prep school to college hockey, so never try to shut the door on juniors. Be honest with yourself. Off ice training during the summer is more important than the on ice. And it sounds cliche, but hard work is the most important thing. Every player wants to be at a high level, but the kids who make it are the ones who put in the hours to get better. Going through hard times shouldn’t make you quit, it should make you that much more motivated. A quote that a teammate of mine in Dubuque and I used says it the best: “Its all the about the process, not the result.”
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
LUKE CURADI: Obviously my goal is to be playing at the highest level possible, the NHL. I have a long way to go, but I’ve learned to enjoy the work and take it all one day at a time. If for some reason I’m not playing, I really hope I’m lucky enough to have a coaching position somewhere.
Thanks, Luke. Best of luck to you this fall.
|THE CURADI FILE|
TEAM: Dubuque Fighting Saints
STATS: 2g, 9a, 11pts