Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Luke helping youngsters bulge the twine

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Want to move and score like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Jordan Eberle or Pavel Datsyuk? Morris Lukowich can show you how.

The star left-winger with the original Winnipeg Jets in both the WHA and NHL knows a thing or two about finding the back of the net.

He scored 331 goals as a professional over an 11-year career in North America -- including 65 during the last season of the WHA and 43 a couple of years later after the leagues merged -- and he now works with hundreds of kids of all ages across the country who have aspirations of making The Show or just making a bigger impact with their community club team. His system is a step-by-step process to scoring goals, focused on constantly changing angles to expose a goalie's weaknesses. "It's about a path of least resistance and incorporates speed, strength and deception in a way that gets the puck to the net and scores goals," he said.

Lukowich Maximum Goal Scoring is based out of Calgary, where he lives, but he takes it on the road whenever he can. The 57-year-old was in Winnipeg this week for a corporate event, but took the time to tutor a couple of youngsters on improving their goal-scoring techniques.

He videotapes the sessions and sends them to his students, complete with on-screen comments and data on their body movements, such as the degree of their knee bends coming out of a turn.

Lukowich had his light-bulb moment a few years ago when his nephew, Brett Bartman, was playing for the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL. He had been watching him since he was in peewee, but it became pretty clear very quickly that he "didn't have much of an idea of what was going on out there."

"I thought, 'Heck, I had all this WHA and NHL experience; how could I put together a program that would be able to save him years of experimentation on his own and give him the skills and strategies that could help him become a better hockey player,' " he said.

Bartman went on to captain the University of Calgary Dinos.

Like many professional hockey players, Lukowich's transition to post-retirement life wasn't easy. He got involved in a couple of ventures over the years since he retired 20 years ago, but he wasn't crazy about them, mainly because he missed hockey so much.

"The saying, 'those that can, do' and those that can't, teach,' I disagree with that. I would say, 'if you can, do, but if you can't play (anymore), teach so you can pass on that gift to other people,' " he said.

Lukowich's main reason for coming to town was to speak at a corporate event at Golder Associates, an engineering company that was opening a new office.

"They asked me to come in and sign some autographs and tell some stories about Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Tiger Williams and Luc Robitaille," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 24, 2014 B6

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