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Playing it Cooley

Playmaker Logan Cooley May be a Rookie, But Plays Like a Star on the Rise

The day we met up to interview and photograph Logan Cooley was another busy day for him. He’s at the Ice Den in Scottsdale, where the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes team practices. He’s already been there for a while, had a team meeting, is meeting with us, and then has to rush off for an autograph session nearby.

But Cooley takes it in stride and is gracious and accommodating—though you can tell he’s still getting used to these new changes in his day. After all, he’s still just 19. Plus, even though he was a third overall draft pick during the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, unlike most players who typically spend a year or two in the minors, he was asked to step in and play immediately.

Not only did he, but he did it well. As of this writing, he’s one of the highest rookie scorers in the season and if the season ended today, the team would be in the playoffs—a giant step forward over recent seasons. His contributions—including being an integral part of the power play unit, which is not typical territory for most rookies—have had much to do with it.

Cooley has been a playmaker from day one, which may be a mix of talent, training, and drive.

“I’ve always been super competitive in everything I’ve done, and I think just competing and scoring goals and making plays and winning with your teammates is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced,” he says. “Going against the best players in the world with your team is the best feeling in the world.”

 

From First Steps to the NHL

Cooley grew up in Pittsburgh, first stepping on the ice at 4 years old.

“It was a learn-to-play program, and I had so much fun with that,” he says. “I just kept going from there.”

Indeed he’s kept going.

In addition to playing for the Arizona Coyotes, the highest player ever drafted from Pittsburgh also played for the U.S. national U18 team. 

“Growing up as an American-born player, my dream was always to represent my country one day, and when I was 15 years old and made the U.S. national team development program in Plymouth, Michigan, that was probably the biggest memory I have and the best one I have. That’s where everything honestly started to become a reality was when I made the U.S. national team.”

And then there was when his name was called.

“You kind of always dream of having your name called—especially as high as possible—but you don’t know where you’re going to go. To be the third pick in the NHL draft was really special and a dream come true. And for it to be the Coyotes, you know, they’re going in the right direction and it’s a super exciting time to be part of the organization, and I’m definitely happy the way the draft turned out and I’m happy to be a Coyote.”

Living in Arizona

Now that he’s been on the team for a bit, Cooley is even happier to be a Coyote, enjoying everything from the players who make up the team to the weather here in Arizona.

“Especially during the wintertime! Right now, back home it’s 17 degrees and snowing and here we’re wearing shorts and a sweatshirt,” he says.

Staying Game-Ready

A large portion of the time he’s just in his gear though. A typical day has him arriving at the rink around 10 a.m., participating in some meetings, a workout, and practice. As the season goes on, there’s also a lot of traveling.

“And then after games relaxing and taking care of your body,” he says.”

Of course, playing a sport requires being in peak condition, which is something Cooley, like all athletes, dedicates time to achieving. In addition to team practices and games, which are workouts themselves, he spends time working out throughout the year.

Also, “staying hydrated, working with a nutritionist and guys around our staff, and having home-cooked meals” helps him stay at top performance, he says. “I’m not too particular or anything like that, but getting veggies in. I eat a lot of chicken, a lot of rice, and some pasta, too. … I think that the most important is talking to staff around our team.”

Cooley also has a big support team in his family, who he credits as being his mentors.

“My family, especially my parents, [have given me so much] support and everything they’ve done for me just helped me not only with this game but off the ice, too,” he shares.

He is one of four siblings, with two older brothers and one younger sister. All grew up playing sports, with his brothers also playing hockey and his sister hockey briefly and now lacrosse.

Off the Ice

When he’s not spending time on hockey Cooley enjoys just being around family and friends, having a good time, and spending time on the lake. He also loves to golf.

“I haven’t had too much time to do a lot of that lately though,” he says, chuckling.

The Future

As he looks to the future, he says one of his goals is to win a Stanley Cup.

“Being in this game, it seems like a lot of careers are almost defined by how many Stanley Cups you have, and I think to one day win the Stanley Cup, especially here in Arizona, would be pretty special.”

To be the third pick in the NHL draft was really special and a dream come true.”

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