ASU Hockey: Sun Devils add veteran NHL goalie Eddie Lack to coaching staff
After working with the team for the later part of this summer, Eddie Lack officially announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that he has joined Sun Devil Hockey as the new goaltender coach.
Lack comes to the program on a volunteer basis and expressed his decision to step away from the National Hockey League was due to the physical health issues he’s accumulated throughout his professional career to this point.
"Dear fans and friends, my body won't allow me to play professional hockey at this time," he wrote in his announcement. "I still have ways ahead of me in PT (physical therapy) regarding my hips. Injuries are tough and I’m going to keep working hard daily, but I've been playing through hip pain in the last six years, and with PT (physical therapy) now I need to make sure I give myself the preparations I need to play at an NHL level again."
Lack will continue his rehab process while coaching at Arizona State.
The 31-year-old has battled two separate major hip injuries, the first being surgery on his hip flexor back in 2013 as a Vancouver Canucks prospect. The latest hindrance stems from a torn labrum in his left hip suffered in December 2018 while playing in the minors under the New Jersey Devils organization that also required an operation.
Lack has not played since his last surgery. Obviously, the hips are a vital piece of the body for an athlete, especially a hockey goalie, and it’s clear he’s going to have to take some indefinite time away from playing to get back to feeling 100 percent physically to perform between the pipes at a high level.
“In the meantime, because I’m not healthy enough to play or sign right now, I am happy to announce I will be the new goalie coach at Arizona State University” reads the rest of his post. “I love the game and I’m excited to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained in my professional career. Thank you for your support and #forskup.”
The Swedish native compiled 126 total starts with the Vancouver Canucks, Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames, and New Jersey Devils. 121 of those were with Vancouver and Carolina.
ASU has not had a coach with the specific title of goaltender coach before. However, Andrew Matheson, former volunteer coach, now recently promoted Director of Hockey Operations for the team, essentially held the role while working hands-on with the goaltending group.
“Eddie started coming to some games last season during his rehab as he bought a house here in the Valley and we just really clicked,” ASU coach Greg Powers told Craig Morgan of The Athletic. “When we promoted our goalie coach to Operations Director, Eddie and I met.”
“I really liked his demeanor and approach. We want to expose our players to good humans above all and Eddie is exactly that. He will make all of us better.”
The NHL connections continue to grow at ASU.
Lack becomes the second coach on the Sun Devil Hockey staff with NHL playing experience, joining assistant Alex Hicks who played in the league for five years.
Along with a slew of prominent NHLers’ sons committing and playing for the program, it’s hard not to believe ASU’s résumé is growing exponentially and rapidly as a serious hockey school. Sun Devil Hockey is headed into just its fourth-full NCAA D-1 season.
But now, the biggest piece of the puzzle among the team’s goaltending is replacing recent Mike Richter finalist Joey Daccord, who started every game for the Sun Devils last season. He’s since become the school’s first player to move on to the NHL, playing with the Ottawa Senators in one game so far.
ASU has a deep, talented group of goalies with returning sophomore Evan DeBrouwer, Boston University graduate transfer Max Prawdzik, and true freshman Justin Robbins.
“We think we can win with all three, but I don’t anticipate this being a goaltending-by-committee season at all,” Powers said before the team’s recent trip to China.
“Somebody wins the net and takes the net and earns it, they’re going to get it. So, all three are very capable, and we’re excited to see what happens.”
Lack will have the opportunity to help develop and ingest invaluable knowledge into those guys from his extensive time as a professional.