Lucca Munoz wears number 28 for the Norsemen but it’s not the only numeral he’s worn in the NAHL. It was 11 for him in Springfield, IL earlier this season. He wore 10 in Jamestown, NY. And he dawned 10 in Amarillo, TX where he made his NAHL debut.
Yet sometimes things happen for a reason, and it seems like there’s a pretty good reason that his hockey career has taken him to St. Cloud, MN. “I love it here in St. Cloud. I think we have a great group of tight knit guys and I think I fit in very well, both on and off the ice,” beams Munoz. “We have a fast-play style and I think I bring legs to the table.”
Munoz is a native of Chicago, IL, so while he’s not still in his home state like he was with the Springfield Jr. Blues, he’s able to stay in the Midwest as opposed to being out east in New York or down south in Texas as he was earlier in his NAHL career. St. Cloud Norsemen Head Coach Corey Millen knows that Munoz has had to move around but sees what Lucca’s learned at his various stops in his game. “You can tell that he’s had some experience. He’s played in some different roles over the last couple of years and that always takes some adjustment,” points out Millen. “But he’s had a good attitude, he’s been a good teammate and he’s been working hard when he gets the opportunity.”
Despite Munoz fitting in and enjoying his time in St. Cloud, joining a team mid-season can cause some difficulties but Coach Millen feels Lucca is earning more opportunities weekend after weekend. “Because he came in late… we talk a lot about being reliable and being trusted and he’s trying to gain that. He does that on a daily basis,” Millen identifies. “He’s gonna get some opportunity here coming up so hopefully he can really help us kind of stabilize things.”
Hockey, like so many team sports, is about knowing your role and finding the balance of not trying to do too much, while also not failing to do what’s required. Munoz feels like he knows his place on the team pretty well. “I think my role is bringing a lot of energy and fun to both practices and games,” Munoz explains. “Not letting my teammates get down on themselves and bringing some jump and speed to the ice.”
Munoz is unique in that he has played in all four of the NAHL’s divisions: South, East, Midwest and now the Central with the Norsemen. He hasn’t let the multitude of jerseys and locations get him down, in fact the St. Cloud coaching staff feels he has a great attitude. “He’s been a good teammate, he’s worked hard, he’s persevering. The more injuries we get, the more opportunity he’s going to get,” analyzes Millen. “He’s just got to keep battling and hopefully he can help us overcome some of these injuries.”
Saturday’s game in Austin, a 4-3 shootout victory for the Norsemen, was Munoz’s 18th game in a Norsemen sweater, which is the most regular season games he’s played for any NAHL team. He’s got a stat line of 1-2-3 with the Norsemen and 3-5-8 in 35 games played in the NAHL this season but Millen knows that Lucca’s got the ability to break out offensively, especially as he gets more opportunities. “He’s got a good skill set, he’s a talented kid. He’s got a good set of hands, he can see the game, he knows the game,” Millen praises. “Those are things that you really like to see.”
For fans who may not have gotten a chance to see Munoz in action much so far, the natural question that comes to mind is, “Is there a player you feel your game is similar to?” And for that question, Munoz has an answer. “ I’m obviously under-sized (Munoz is listed as 5’8, 176) so I’d have to go with Viktor Arvidsson on the LA Kings,” answers Munoz. “He plays smart, fast and with a lot of emotion.”
Of course, if you’ve not yet gotten a chance to see Munoz play much this season, come to the MAC as the Norsemen are playing in their last regular season home games against the Aberdeen Wings this Friday and Saturday. With a win in either game the Norsemen would clinch a playoff spot as well. For tickets head to tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com.