“I love every guy in that room. I want to play for them,” Luke Cox said Jan. 7. (Alistair Burns / Grandview Steelers)
Fifth-year Steeler ‘wears heart on sleeve’ for Grandview club
BURNABY WINTER CLUB – In junior hockey, it’s rare to skate for the same team for five years. Rarer still to lace up for 150 regular season contests.
Grandview Steeler Luke Cox is one of those unique young men. A two-way forward from North Vancouver, he was saluted by the Steeler faithful for playing in his 150th game for the club Jan. 7. And with 97 career points, he’s only three away from the century mark.
The 20-year-old has one last chance for Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) glory when the postseason begins next month. Currently, Grandview’s in play-off contention, in part due to Cox’s gritty effort with 33 points so far this season.
In this question-and-answer session, Cox chatted with Alistair Burns from Grandview’s Corporate Sales about first memories, favourite moments, and how the fans will remember “Coxy’s” hard-nosed work ethic.
Alistair Burns: Luke, you’ve been in Steeltown for five years. I want to take you back to 2019. What were your first memories of putting on the black-and-gold sweater?
Luke Cox: I was pretty young, 16 years old. I’m from North Van, so I was lucky enough to come with a buddy from over there. [Once in Grandview] the boys opened up to me early. We had a lot of vets. I was lucky enough just to slot under their wing. We had a very good team when I was 16, too, so I learned the ways of the league pretty early – the rest is of kind of history from that one.
AB: Speaking specifically of the ‘ways of the league’ – how have you matured from then until now?
LC: Come in every game prepared. You can beat anyone in this league. Whether you’re a top team, bottom team. Every night, it’s a dogfight out there. Anything can happen. What I’ve learned is that a group like ours – no matter who’s on the team, how old we are – we always battle. We go to the end.
AB: It’s clear that you play with your heart on your sleeve. You’re always banging your stick; you want to do more for this team. Where does this inner reservoir of grit come from? Can you take me inside the mind of Luke Cox?
LC: I’m just a passionate guy! I’m here to win. I’m here to play for the guy to my left, the guy to my right. Aldo [Bruno, Grandview’s governor, general manager, and head coach] runs the show around here. He teaches us from day one. We learn from him – all he wants to do is win for us, win for the team, win for the organization. It’s really easy when you got a guy like that leading you.
AB: You’ve scored two career hat tricks for Grandview. You’re a scoring threat all season long. What do you do in the off-season to stay in shape?
LC: It’s a bit of everything. You’ve got to have a bit of fun too. I always like to play some beer league with some friends, older and younger guys that go away during the year for hockey. Going to the gym, going on runs – keeping your legs moving.
A big one is playing inline [roller] hockey. Keeps the creative juices going. It’s a mixture of things, staying busy.
AB: What has your happiest memory been as a Steeler so far?
LC: Every day we come to the rink, it’s good fun. The guys are always awesome, all five years. But I have to go back to that [first season]. I might not have been the most effective player on that team, but we took a really good Richmond Sockeyes to seven [games] in their barn and we won that Game 7. That was my first taste of the real junior play-off experience. It was awesome!
AB: [Chuckles] Yes, I remember as the losing Sockeyes P.A. announcer that time. [Cox laughs]. Anyway, what was the moment you learned the most from? Perhaps a painful memory, but you were able to use it as fuel.
LC: Well, unfortunately right after that series – we got swept by arguably one of the best teams to play in this league, that (North Vancouver) Wolf Pack team. That’s my home town as well, so a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. Stuff happens. Got to move forward. And it was a really good experience.
AB: We’re very glad that you still have plenty of games to play for the Steelers. How do you think the fans here in Steeltown will remember your career?
LC: Just a guy that plays for the logo. Plays for the fellas. Really happy guy. I love every guy in that room. I want to play for them.
I like to have a fun time but a couple of fans might see me as a guy – like you said – who wears my heart on my sleeve. Might get a little carried away at times, a little angry, but it’s all love. All passion.
AB: Congratulations on 150 games. Thank you, Luke.
LC: Thank you, really appreciate that.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
Inside Steeltown Q & A – Listen to the full interview with Luke Cox