Photo by Rena Laverty
Deciding where to spend your college years is a big decision to make for anyone, but to consider making that decision at the young age of 14 adds a whole other level of intensity.
For the Pennsylvania native, Logan Cooley took every important factor into consideration when making his choice to be a part of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey program.
“Their education program was a big part in it,” said Cooley. “All their history of producing future NHL players also brought me in, but another big reason was that my uncle played there as well. I wanted to keep the family trend going a little bit.”
With so much of his career still ahead of him, Cooley’s achievements so far are nothing short of impressive. As an underager, he has already seen competition on the international stage at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship and was one of two ’04 birth year players to be invited to the 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase in July at USA Hockey Arena.
“It’s obviously such a huge honor. You always want to keep moving up in the rankings. It just helps me to get better and better each day and my teammates have helped me a lot so far to keep pushing. Obviously getting the opportunity to play up is unbelievable.”
Before throwing on that USA sweater, Cooley was representing his home state as a part of Sidney Crosby’s Little Penguins Program as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite program. Being able to grow as a player under a role model such as Crosby was a key motivator in Cooley’s development.
“They give free equipment to everyone in the program which helps the families out a lot. It played a huge role in my development. Not a lot of notable players have come out of Pittsburgh, so for me, playing there was about making a name for the city. I think Crosby’s done a good job of that as well.”
It is no wonder Cooley is optimistic for his future as his career continues to excel beyond being one of the first members of Crosby’s program, to earning a spot of the U.S. National Development Team and even making his commitment to Notre Dame.
Yet as he looks forward to all the exciting moments still to come, Cooley gets astonished from time to time over all that incredible moments behind him.
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“Again, it really is a huge honor," stated Cooley. “I know there is still a lot to be accomplished but everything I’ve done so far, I couldn’t have ever dreamed of.”
While continuing to work hard towards his goals, there is one factor of his motivation that seems to stand out among the rest. Knowing there is a chance to keep advancing in level and skate on the big stage one day makes all the little sacrifices worth it.
“Just knowing the outcome is getting a shot to make it to the NHL. That’s everyone’s dream I think, but you see how hard we work at the program. Just have to keep pushing and one day hopefully make it.”
Although his future is always in the back of his mind, there is still a lot to be accomplished in Plymouth. As his second and final season with the NTDP approaches, Cooley has high expectations for himself and his team that he knows they are more than capable of reaching.
“For me, after playing up with the U18s at the end of last year, it’s still about pushing every day to grow as a team, growing as a person and hopefully win that [Under-18] World Championship at the end.”
Beyond the regular USHL season, being able to play against higher level competition with their college matchups is a motivating factor for Cooley this season.
Even more so, for the chance to represent his country on the international stage again would be a dream come true for Cooley as well as getting a second shot at the U18 World Championship.
“It would mean everything to me. That was my first experience with international competition at the 2021 U18 World Championship and falling up short definitely left a bad taste in all our mouths. To be able to play in that again this year and represent our country, hopefully we can win a gold medal.”
Photo by Rena Laverty