Summit hockey star Beck Moore drafted by Lincoln Stars
Special to the Daily
When you talk about goals with your average 16-year-old, you often get a canned answer: get through school, hang with friends, get into college and then see where that goes.
While these are still on his mind, local hockey power forward Beck Moore presently has much more ambitious goals. This spring, the Summit County native was drafted by the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League. Lincoln is a Tier 1 Junior A team with the USHL, the top junior hockey league in the U.S., based in Nebraska’s capital city. Junior leagues are for players from 16 to 20 years old and known as stepping-stone programs, made for players to progress from the youth level to college or professional hockey.
Just like any sport, early involvement often leads to a passion for the game. Moore’s parents got him on the ice when he was about 4 years old. A few short years later he was playing with Summit Youth Hockey.
Looking back, Moore said that the years he played in Summit, up through PeeWees, are when he fell in love with the sport. One of his former Summit coaches, Geoff Palmer, recalls his time coaching Moore as a PeeWee.
“He was electric, even as a PeeWee,” Palmer said. “He had great hockey sense and wonderful hands — a naturally-gifted forward.”
Palmer added that, “He was always an extremely hard worker and a very coachable kid. It’s great he has made it this far.”
Denver ice time
Eventually, the small-town limits of Summit County made Moore look elsewhere to progress his game. He went to Denver to try out for the Colorado Thunderbirds AAA spring tournament team and made it, and then went on to join the Thunderbirds U-11 winter team later in the year. The following year, he tried out for the Thunderbirds U-12 team and missed the cut.
“It was tough because all my friends made the team and I didn’t,” Moore recalled. Instead, that season he skated with Evolution, another Denver-based program. He now remembers this adversity as a major motivational factor.
“It was good for me,” Moore said. “It helped me grow emotionally and mentally.”
Moore returned the next year with renewed purpose and made the Thunderbirds U-13 team. He has played with the organization ever since.
When asked what it’s like playing for a Denver club while living in Summit County, Moore is honest.
“It’s tough,” Moore said. “Socially, I have my two groups of friends: my hockey buddies down in Denver and my friends up here… It takes really dedicated parents, too. I can’t thank them enough. They drove me up and down the hill five days a week for the last five years.”
When it’s all said and done, Moore’s routine is a six-hour round-trip: down to Denver for practice and dryland, and then back home to Summit. His parents also made sure that school was still the priority. If he didn’t have good grades, he wouldn’t be able to play.
“Grades are still on the mind,” Moore said. “You have to have the grades to go to college, so an education is still my priority.”
In response, Moore often found himself reading, studying and completing homework assignments in the passenger seat of a car.
From ‘Birds to Stars
Over the years, Moore transitioned from a leading scorer with Summit to a power forward with the Thunderbirds. At 6-feet, 1-inch tall, he’s the kind of offensive weapon every coach loves to have: a gritty playmaker who wins battles in the corners and absorbs punishment from defensemen in front of the net, hell-bent on outworking his opponents to generate opportunities for his team.
“If you want to succeed, you need the passion for the game and have to try to be the hardest worker on the ice every day,” Moore said. “That’s what I try to do every time I step on the ice.”
As a draftee with the USHL, Moore has the opportunity to attend Lincoln’s main camp this June and compete for a spot on the roster for the 2016-17 season, which begins in December. He’s taking a realistic approach. As a 16-year-old, he knows his chances to make the team this season aren’t great, as there are only a handful of players his age in the USHL. Instead, his focus is on the Thunderbirds national team, the program’s top team. He is optimistic that with a bit more time he’ll be ready for a crack at Lincoln roster as a high school senior.
The perks are worth the wait. By playing in the USHL, Moore retains college eligibility, which brings him a step closer to his next big goal: playing NCAA Division I hockey. He would love to play for the University of Denver or Boston College, and, while he hasn’t ruled out an eventual run in pro hockey, he’s chosen to keep his goals more localized for now. He plans to spend the summer preparing for next year. Come fall, he’ll be moving to the Denver area with his mom to spend more time on the ice.
“I’ll worry about that (the NHL) when or if it ever comes,” Moore said. “For now, I want to focus on getting stronger and faster for next season.”
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