Ever since Luca Ciampini was 12 years old, people have been talking about him as a top prospect. Ciampini was a scoring machine for Loyola High School and at the Pee Wee AA level. He did the same thing the following year in Bantam AA, and the year after in Midget Espoir as an underage player, and in his most recent season in Midget AAA with the Chateauguay Patriotes. Ciampini finished the current year with 43 points in 38 games, numbers that were impressive enough that the QMJHL’s Central Scouting had him ranked as the #2 player eligible for the draft. The Halifax Mooseheads selected Luca Ciampini 2nd overall, and are hoping to build their team around him, and the rest of their 2010 draft class.
What people don’t know about the 6’0 left-winger, is that he is fueled by his desire to be the best, and he is committed to becoming a well-rounded and complete player, not just a guy who is only good in the offensive zone. He has made tremendous strides in his overall game, and even though there are extremely high hopes from the fans in Halifax, Ciampini has no interest in living up to the hype, rather, he wants to continue to raise the bar even higher.
ProSportsBlogging touched base with Luca Ciampini, and he was more than happy to talk about all things hockey.
PSB: Going back to Pee Wee hockey, you were always a big scorer and considered a superstar. Over time, some players regress because things come too easy for them. How have you managed to maintain a high performance level all these years, going from a 12 year old kid in Pee Wee to the number 2 pick in the QMJHL draft?
LC: To succeed in anything you do, you must always work hard. Since I was a kid I always worked on things I was good at to get better at them and always worked even harder at things I had trouble with to improve on them. Each level is another step, you have to adapt to it and continue to have fun no matter what. Playing hockey is something that I love to do, which in itself keeps me motivated. My drive, my competitiveness, always wanting to be the best game in and game out and hating to lose have lead me to my success.
PSB: A QMJHL scout once told me that when you draft a player in the first round, you anticipate that the player will make it into the league as a 16 year old and the expectation is that he will contribute right away. How do you think you will be affected by what are sure to be elevated expectations?
LC: Nothing is a given. To make the team, you always have to work your hardest each shift and each practice in order to earn a spot. Of course there will be expectations, but by working hard, opportunities will come and success will come as well! Being a scorer, there are high expectations going into next year, although every year there are those same expectations for me to score goals and in the past I believe I have done well in adapting to it.
PSB: Anyone who has seen you play knows that you can put the puck in the net. What do you feel is another part of your game that you excel at, but that people may not notice because they are focused on watching you try to score goals?
LC: I am not sure if many people realize this, but I have worked really hard on my defensive play and that it has gotten much better over the last few years. Also, when the puck is on my stick I have very good straight away speed bringing it hard to the net and protecting the puck from the defensemen in the corners. I make little passes that people may not realize, like little chips, saucers and just hard passes on the tape. I have a very high hockey IQ – I try to read mistakes by defensemen and cut plays off, and I am always looking to find holes or sneak through the slot without the other team realizing I’m there. I am also a physical player and I am not afraid to go into traffic.
PSB: On the flip side, what do you hope to improve on over the summer so that when you show up in Halifax, you will be an even better player than the guy who they picked second overall?
LC: This summer I will be working really hard on my skating stride, quick feet, explosiveness and overall speed. I will be training hard to get bigger and stronger. I will also continue to work on things that I am good at, like my stick handling, my shot, quick releases and my accuracy.
PSB: For people who have never seen you play but want to get a sense as to what you’re all about, which NHL player do you try to model your game after?
LC: I have always admired Malkin’s play, but I have come to the conclusion that I play more like Rick Nash. He’s a big power forward. He brings the puck hard to the net through traffic, battles hard in the corners and plays physical. Most importantly he scores goals and makes nice plays!
PSB: Is there a particular quote or piece of advice you may have been given at some point in time that you are always reminding yourself of?
LC: I’ve always liked the quote Fight for What You Want, because in life you have to work hard in anything you do to be successful. Someone once told me about the four S’s and no fear. Speed, Skills, Strength, Smarts and no fear! These are the keys to success in any hockey player’s game.
PSB: You have been praised a lot as a hockey player, but sometimes critics and the media can be harsh. In describing you, one person wrote “Once in motion, he was a force, but he wasn’t visible as long as his centerman wasn’t.” Do you think those comments are fair, and how do you deal with something like that?
LC: Of course those comments are unfair, but everyone has a job to do. My center was a great player, we both complimented each other – I was his scorer and he was my passer so everything went well. When people talk negatively about me, it does not affect me in any way, it just makes me stronger because I know my capabilities and my determination comes into play to prove I’m the best. It doesn’t bother me because I have been proving year after year that I can succeed with different teammates. Two players don’t make a team; every year teammates change and you have to adjust to what you have been given with a positive attitude. That is how you become a great athlete. I always try to turn things into a positive, and whoever I play with, I always try to find a way to be successful with them. For the last 8 years I have adapted to my teammates and I have had memorable moments with all of those players.
PSB: Looking into the future, what are some of your goals that you hope to accomplish over the next 2-3 years?
LC: My goals are to work very hard over the next two years to be able to get right into the line up for the Mooseheads next season and to provide them as much as I can so that the team can rise to the top during their rebuilding process. I hope to represent Quebec this year at the U17 tournament, as well as eventually representing my country at the U20 world junior championships. During the next 2-3 years I hope to become one of the top prospects in the QMJHL and help the team become a top contender to win the championship and to win the memorial cup. At the age of 18, my goal is to get drafted into the NHL very high, especially after all the dedication and hard work I have put into realizing my dream. My ultimate goal is to play in the show in the season immediately following the draft.
PSB: Luca, thanks for taking the time to chat. On a personal note, when I coached the Bantam LCC hockey team 3 years ago, we went undefeated and a big part of that was your inability to play for Loyola (who we played 3 times) because you were committed to Bantam AA – so thank you for that! Seriously though, best of luck in your upcoming season, and I especially hope to see you representing our province of Quebec at the upcoming U17 tournament
LC: Hahahahah!! With the competiveness I had back in secondary 2 that I still have now, and being rivals with LCC, you do not know how much it killed knowing that you guys always beat us. I was dying to play!!! Thank you very much for this interview, it was a pleasure doing it for you! Thank you very much, hopefully everything will go well, and it would be a great honor to represent Quebec this upcoming tournament.
OTHER “FUTURE STARS” PROFILES:
June 10 – Dillon Fournier (Lewiston Maineiacs)
June 9 – Ben Masella (Deerfield / Montreal Juniors)
June 8 – Patrick Walsh (Quebec Remparts)
June 7 – Sammy Hodhod (Shawinigan Cataractes)
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.