Judson commits to Lakehead

Lucas Punkari

Emo native Luke Judson is set for the next step of his hockey career—and it’s one that will bring him closer to the home.
After spending the last four seasons with the Belleville Bulls of the OHL, including three as captain, the 21-year-old forward will be suiting up for the Lakehead University Thunderwolves in the OUA ranks come next season.
“For me, it came down to looking for a place where hockey was the forefront,” Judson explained.
“There were some other places where it was school first and hockey second, but at Lakehead both of those things are important,” he noted.
“You can see the passion that the town has for the Thunderwolves, and the fact that they have a competitive team was huge for me.”
Before he made a on-campus visit to Lakehead, Judson actually was leaning towards other schools. But he soon changed his mind once he arrived in Thunder Bay.
“I had never really been around the school before there, and to see everything on campus was great,” he remarked.
“Then when I went down to the rink [Fort William Gardens], and started to hear about the game nights there and how excited the town gets when the Thunderwolves are in action, that gave me some extra motivation to go there.”
After making his final on-campus visit to Western University in London last week, and talking things over with his family, Judson then made his final decision over the weekend.
“On Saturday, I gave a call to the other schools that I was still on the fence about that I had made my final decision,” he noted.
With his school chosen, Judson now is working on getting himself ready like he would during any other summer. But he’s also thinking about the changes he will face when he arrives on campus in September.
“It’s going to be a huge different in my lifestyle from the last couple of years,” admitted Judson, who will be studying business at Lakehead.
“I had already finished high school prior to my last two seasons with Belleville, so my time was spent focusing on hockey.
“This year, time management is going to be huge with both the school work and hockey, and that’ll be new for me, [but] it’s something I feel that I’ll be ready for,” he added.
“I was a pretty good student when I was younger, so I should be able to pick things up really quickly.”
While Judson will not be playing with any teammates from his tenure with the Bulls, there will be a number of familiar faces he’ll be suiting up with this season for the Thunderwolves.
“Michael McDonald, who I played with on the Thunder Bay Kings, has just committed to playing with Lakehead, and I played on a number of summer teams with Carson Dubchak from Kenora,” he noted.
“There’s also a few guys that I played in Thunder Bay, such as Trevor Gamache and Ryan Magill, and there’s also quite a few guys that I played against when I was in the OHL.”
With his main goal still being to play hockey professionally, Judson is using the story of Joel Ward, who played for UPEI following an OHL career before getting his shot in the NHL, as motivation.
“I think you are seeing more and more guys that are jumping out of university hockey and getting pro opportunities, not just in European leagues or the ECHL but in higher-end leagues like the NHL and the AHL,” he remarked.
“I think a lot of guys go into university thinking that their career is over,” he added. “I don’t think that is something I want to do.
“I’m making sure that I’m keeping doors open as far as hockey goes, and right now there could be some prospects for some possible camp invitations for later this year.
“But as the same time, you need to make sure that you have a solid backing with an education,” Judson reasoned.