How skating coach Luke Chilcott helps the Stars find an edge
Plus commentary on select Stars skating styles with the skating coach.
Luke Chilcott has been a fixture in the Dallas-Fort Worth hockey scene for close to 15 years.
A former competitive figure skater, who retired because of back injuries, Chilcott has taught thousands of kids how to skate in DFW through his affiliation with the local rinks.
Since 2016 he’s also worked with professionals. First as a volunteer skating coach with the Allen Americans, and then as a team skating consultant with the San Jose Sharks. Before the 2019-20 season, Chilcott started working with Stars captain Jamie Benn on an individual basis in the summer, re-working Benn’s stride and crafting a smoother first step that has been heavily featured in the Bennasaince years.
Before last season the Stars formally hired Chilcott in a team capacity. He now works with both the NHL and AHL clubs, and recently returned to Dallas after spending a week in Cedar Park with the Texas Stars, working on skating with prospects.
Chilcott’s rule comes with nuance.
At the NHL level, it’s more proprietary and competition driven, finding small edges within the game that can be improved through better skating.
“With the big team, it’s a lot of watching plays and analyzing,” Chilcott said. “Pointing out things to a player like, ‘this where you could have cut back,’ and we can work on that footwork. Or finding a spot where I think D-men could be limiting unnecessary footwork that avoids them from betting crossed over by attacking players. It’s more strategic.”
For the AHL sessions, and other Stars prospects he works with, it’s primarily about habits rather than game-to-game analysis. This past week, for example, he was working closely with defensive prospect Lian Bichsel.