Story by: Jamie Neugebauer, NYR media coordinator
North York Rangers defenceman and alternate captain Luke Hincenbergs has committed to play for the State University of New York at Canton of Division III NCAA beginning next season.
Hincenbergs, 21, appeared in 62 games this past year for the Rangers, excelling in a shut down role on the ice, and in a key leadership role off of it.
A native of Toronto, he posted 14 points in 125 career Ontario Junior Hockey League contests between the Trenton Golden Hawks and Rangers.
It is that character, and the eagerness to excel in the role he is best suited for, that makes Luke a truly special person and player; one that will certainly be missed by the club.
“Canton has a pretty young program as far as the SUNYAC goes,” said Hincenbergs.
“Their coach said he is looking to build his program around freshmen, and said it would be a really good group. He liked the way I played, and the big thing is that he told me that he didn’t want me to change too much of my game; that he wanted me to be a shutdown guy and not feel like I had to be someone different at the next level. The visit there, the team was close, they seem like a good group, and it felt like home right away.”
Hincenbergs was acquired from the Golden Hawks in the off-season, and spent much of the latter part of the year in a defence-first tandem with fellow off-season acquisition Adam Giacomin. Luke was thrilled to be given the opportunity to be a key contributor to the club this past season, especially in light of the limited ice time he was given in Trenton.
“I came from a place where I didn’t get the chances that I had hoped for,” he said, “but coming to NYR and stepping into a leadership role and having a big impact is something I was really excited about. Getting the chance to get the ice time certainly helped with the school process was big for that, and going on with my summer now with the specific vision of preparing for college hockey is something that I am really excited about.”
Luke was afforded an opportunity that few get for the first part of this past campaign: getting the chance to play with his brother Walker, who made the Rangers out of training camp. They had played a bit together at Millbrook Prep School in New York State, but the two reuniting in junior was extremely meaningful to the whole Hincenbergs family.
“It was awesome,” Luke said.
“It was awesome playing at home, driving to the rink every day and doing everything with him while it lasted. Those are the memories you hang on to the longest; you always remember teammates, but playing with a brother is even more special.”
Walker, also more of a stay-at-home type defender, was dealt to the Pickering at the trade deadline, and looks to be a big part of the Panthers next season.
The SUNY Canton Kangaroos play in the State University of New York Athletic Conference, and are located in northeastern New York State.
Luke intends to study business management.