The Next Level

Luke Woodworth goes about his business quietly.

The soft spoken mature 16-year-old from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia does all his talking on the ice.

Woodworth made tons of noise in his QMJHL Draft year playing with the South Shore Mustangs of the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League.

The young highly skilled two-way center embraced the nerves and attention that comes with what some players call the most stressful year of their lives.

“Coming into the year the nerves were there knowing it was my draft year, but after five to ten games, I found my footing,” confessed Woodworth.

“I really just focused on playing my game every time I got on the ice.”

“My coaches really helped me eliminate those nerves early on with them trusting me in every situation and being able to play my own game and not worry about making mistakes.”

So many young draft eligible players play scared.

Scared to make a mistake or try to be something they are not.

Confidence and playing to your identity is everything in the game of hockey.

Earning the trust of your coach is one thing, but being played in every situation as a young player is ultimately freeing and that’s when scouts and other observers see maximum growth and development.

Woodworth’s skill, creativity and natural offensive instincts jump off the page making him a lethal threat every time he steps on the ice.

Woodworth didn’t have to look to far for inspiration growing up in his hometown modelling his game after another great two-way forward.

“I always looked up to Keith Getson.”

“He paved the way for South Shore guys like myself to have the dream to get drafted and play in the QMJHL one day,” Woodworth said proudly.

That dream is close to reality for the highly touted forward.

Woodworth is the highest Nova Scotian ranked in the draft coming in at 7th overall by the QMJHL CSR Final Draft List.

Woodworth is extremely grateful to have the opportunity to fulfill his dream of playing in the QMJHL.

“It would mean everything,” he said.

“Not many players get the chance to get drafted, from Bridgewater and If I’m fortunate enough to get drafted it would be a surreal moment for sure.”

Woodworth tore up the Nova Scotia Major Midget League.

In 34 games Woodworth lite the lamp 20 times while adding a stunning 47 helpers which was good for second in the NSMMHL’s scoring race.

Those are incredible numbers for a rookie, but one has to look beyond the numbers and look at Woodworth’s full potential at the next level.

At 5’8 137 pounds, Woodworth doesn’t shy away from the physical aspects of the game if anything he loves the challenge of playing against bigger and stronger players.

His speed, edge control and willingness to go to the dirty areas of the ice to make plays definitely sets him apart from other players his age and size.

Woodworth’s ability to make plays in high traffic areas can be attributed to his terrific puck skills and offensive instincts.

Where does Woodworth see himself fitting in at the QMJHL level?

“I see myself at the next level as a complete 200ft playmaking centre that has a strong hockey IQ.”

The vast majority of QMJHL scouts would definitely agree.

“Luke is an elite playmaking center who possesses a high hockey IQ, allowing him to find passing lanes to set up his teammates,” said one QMJHL scout.

“Luke is a pass-first forward with a finishing touch in his own right.”

“Woodworth will be quarterbacking powerplays for many years in the QMJHL,” the scout added.

Woodworth is driven to improve so he can have an impact at the next level.

“Building muscle has been a big thing for me as I’m not the biggest guy.”

“I get a daily workout in and runs are what I’m doing until I can get back on the ice and in the gym,” said Woodworth.

“I need to work on being more selfish in high danger areas and take shots when they are available instead of always being a pass first guy,” admitted Woodworth.

The well spoken mature play making center understands the opportunity that awaits him at the next level, but is quick to point out all those people that got him to this stage of his career.

“My parents have sacrificed their weekends for countless years.”

“Whether it’s at the rink with me or the soccer field with my sister, I can’t thank them enough for all the support they’ve giving me over the years.”

Under the constant pressure and high expectations of his draft year Woodworth took time to reflect both as a player and person.

“I remember playing Novice hockey with the same core group that our Major Midget team had this year which made this season so special for me.”

“It’s the last year we will all be together on one team.”

Spoken like a true leader, high character player, person and phenomenal teammate.

“Throughout the year I discovered a new level of compete in my game and learned not to give anyone an inch no matter their age or size.”

Luke Woodworth is more than ready to make the jump to the next level as a player, but more importantly as a person.

The sky is the limit for the kid from Bridgwater, Nova Scotia.

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