After signing their captain, Jason Deitsch, it was only natural the Allen Americans sign whom some would consider the face of the franchise. A week after official announcing Stars legends Mike Modano, Craig Ludwig, Eddie Belfour and Richard Matvichuk to the front office team along with signing of Deitsch, the Americans inked Jarret Lukin for the 2012-2013 season.
Lukin is one of Allen’s most consistent players, having averaged 0.70 points a game along with 0.5 PIM. That consistency is something young players can immediately pick up as they see that Jarret’s work ethic on and off the ice remains even keel. When some young players let their emotions dictate their game and try to force plays given the situation, it’s Lukin who’s there to not only lead by example, but is able to talk to the youth on the bench during the game thanks to his low penalty minutes.
I was fortunate to have the chance to see what Jarret’s drive was and how he became the leader that he is today.
–What, in your mind, goes into being a leader?
Jarret Lukin: Every leader holds a variety of different qualities. I believe in order to be a good leader you have to be able to follow. Leaders in my mind are people who are charismatic, lead by example, are there for you in a time of need and one who doesn’t make excuses but rises to the occasion. In my mind I will truly understand what it takes to be a great leader when I win a championship.
–Who was most influential as a leader in your career?
JL: My father Jay. My dad is a humble guy who never complains about anything. He is quiet leader who leads by example through hard work and dedication in everything he does.
–What do you hope to accomplish as a leader this season?
JL: To lead by example and help our team play at the best of our ability so we can bring a championship to the city of Allen.
–One of the benefits of playing in Allen is the opportunity players have to get called up. However, this can affect the chemistry in the room when there’s a revolving door. As a leader, what can you do to draw the team together and overcome the possible “lack of chemistry” with new players as the season drags on?
JL: If someone gets called up I don’t believe it affects the team chemistry at all. We all want to play at the next level even if it is for one game. It’s encouraging to see one of your teammates get the call. If a player is up it gives someone else a chance to step up in their position which can be beneficial down the stretch. When you are called up it is great for your confidence so when you are sent back down you play at a higher level and help the club to be more successful. The only time call ups in my opinion would hurt us would be in the playoffs.
–With a looming lockout in the NHL, hockey is about to take a slapper off the inside of the ankle, so to speak. One of the things that the CHL and the Americans do very well (much better than NHL) is events that include player access. Being a veteran, do you like the fan interaction and what do you think can be done in the DFW area to promote the game of hockey even more?
JL: I absolutely love the interaction with the fans. It is one of the privileges of playing at this level. Allen fans are second to none as I have watched their interest and support continue to grow tremendously year after year. Being a part of the Allen Americans since day one I have witnessed the love hockey develop in this area. It is special to watch people of all ages get involved with the game of hockey whether it’s in the stands cheering or lacing up their skates for the first time. To promote the game of hockey in the DFW area, I think you need to encourage kids to get involved at an early age.
–The last few years has seen a focus on player safety, especially in regards to head shots and the results of head injuries. The players and equipment have seemed to all evolve…do you believe it’s time for the game to evolve as well?
JL: The NHL has done a tremendous job for making the game better since the previous lockout. Every year the game gets better and more exciting. In saying that there are still a great number of injuries and concussions. I feel they are taking all the right steps towards reducing these types of injuries. Hockey is a physical game which involves body contact, fighting and players will get hurt.
–Do you think fighting still has a place in the sport?
JL: Yes I do. Fighting has been in our game since day one and holds players accountable for their actions among other reasons.
–Do you think the ultimate answer will be more “Raffi Torres” type suspensions?
JL: Raffi deserved the suspension he received. It would have been a great hit if he just stayed low and didn’t leave his feet. Hossa put himself in a venerable position by cutting back and reaching for the puck with his head down. To answer the question I think the NHL will continue to be very strict on shots to the head and should be.
–What player today just makes you stop in your tracks and just watch in amazement?
JL: Pavel Datsyuk. His creativity is endless.
–If you weren’t a hockey player, what would you be doing?
JL: Firefighter, a student or be involved with oil and gas.
Some rapid-fire questions:
Steak or chicken? Steak
Beer or wine (or other)? Both
Beach or Mountains? Beach
Saturday morning: Up and at ‘em or sleep in? Up and at ‘em
Paper or Plastic? Paper
Playstation or Xbox? Xbox
Win Olympic Gold or Lose in Stanley Cup Finals: Gold. I hate losing.
Jarret was one of the first players signed in their inaugural season three years ago. He has played more games for the Americans than any team he’s played for. His desire to bring a championship to Allen is unmatched. I am always hesitant using the adage that someone “deserves” a title, but if anyone fits that bill, it’s Lukin. He has brought everything he has to the rink every night for Allen. As a sports fan, you can’t help but cheer for a guy like Jarret Lukin.
I’d like to thank Kim for her help in compiling questions for Jarret. Make sure to follow Kim on twitter: @kjm111602