By Randy Russon
Colorado College, a respected, respectable, Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association school, has committed to another top player from the North Division of the North American Hockey League for the 2013-14 season.
Luc Gerdes, a 1993 birth year forward from the North Division playoff champion Jamestown Ironmen, is off to Colorado College where he will become a teammate of goalie Tyler Marble. Marble, a 1992 birth year, was recently named the NAHL's all-league goalie for the 2012-13 regular season in backstopping the Soo Eagles to a first-place finish in the North Division.
Interestingly, Gerdes and the second-seeded Ironmen upended Marble and the Eagles in the North Division finals. Jamestown is representing the North Division at this week's Robertson Cup championship tournament.
Gerdes, who stands in at 6 feet and weighs 175 pounds, led Jamestown in scoring during the 2012-13 regular season, putting up 48 points, including 27 goals, while playing in all 60 games. Gerdes then followed with a goal and six assists in six playoff games as the Ironmen swept the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings and the Soo en route to winning the North Division title.
He also played in the 2013 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament as a part of the Great Lakes team back in February where he had two points in three games played.
A native of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Gerdes was acquired by Jamestown from the Topeka Road Runners part way through the 2011-12 season. Prior to his NAHL debut with Topeka, Gerdes played three seasons of high school hockey for Eden Prairie.
Reached by telephone after returning from his visit to Colorado Springs on Monday, Gerdes said he is looking forward to playing Division 1 hockey with the Tigers and being a teammate of Marble's.
"Getting a D1 commitment is everything I have dreamed about," said a happy Gerdes. "And ya, it will be nice to be on the same team as Marble after having played against him so many times this season."
While ecstatic about the fact that he'll be moving on to the Division 1, NCAA level after this season, Gerdes remains focused on the task at hand for the Ironmen, who are off to Frisco, Texas for the Robertson Cup tournament as North Division champs.
"Hopefully we can continue our winning ways," Gerdes said of the Ironmen, who are 6-0 in this spring's playoffs. "It would be amazing to finish off this season by winning the Robertson Cup."
Gerdes made a point of saying he wanted to "thank everyone in the Ironmen organization for helping me achieve my dream of playing Division 1. Dan Daikawa and Yuji Iwamoto are great coaches who really helped me become a better player."
Daikawa, the coach-general manager and architect of the success of the North Division champion Ironmen, praised Gerdes for an exceptional season to date.
"First off, we are very excited for Luc to continue his hockey and his education at such a great school like Colorado College," said Daikawa. "He has been a big part of the success we have had in Jamestown this season, scoring big goals and being a good leader. He will learn a lot from the great staff at CC and we wish him a lot of success in the future."
While not of French Canadian descent, Gerdes was named after one of the most-prolific scorers to ever play in the National Hockey League, Luc Robitaille. Robitaille, who is from Montreal, Quebec, played 20 seasons in the NHL before retiring in 2006. A ninth-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 1984, Robitaille went on to play in close to 1,700 NHL games. Playoffs included, Robitaille scored an amazing 726 goals.
Nicknamed "Lucky Luc", Robitaille started and finished his NHL career with Los Angeles, while also playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings in between.
Robitaille was a favourite player of Tom Gerdes, who named his son Luc after the NHL star. "I loved Luc Robitaille and the way he played," said the elder Gerdes. "My wife wanted to name our son Lucas but I just wanted to name him Luc after Lucky Luc! I don't often get my way but my wife let me have my way that day."
So, it's off to Colorado College in the fall for Gerdes of the Ironmen.
And considering the way the season has gone for him thus far, he just might feel like "Lucky Luc."