Luke Clouting-Thomas Interview 

On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to speak to Nottingham Lions Captain Luke Clouting-Thomas after the playoff first leg defeat against Billingham. We spoke about the game which Nottingham lost 5-0, looked forward to the following days second leg fixture (which Nottingham unfortunately lost 5-1 for a 10-1 aggregate loss), and looked back on his career.

Q: Thoughts on the game? 

“Yeah, I thought we pushed well. We were very short-benched today with a load of kids playing, so to lose 5-0 to a league-winning team, I’ll take that!”! 

Q: Lions struggled for puck possession what’s the mindset when you are constantly defending? 

“Yeah, we have to play defensively. We are almost playing on the penalty kill for the whole game, which takes it out of you and takes a lot of mental strength. But these kids are strong, fit, and they can play the game; they just have to get the mental side right. The times that we kind of slipped were when we let them in and they scored. We need to work on getting the full 60 minutes, but they’re getting there. It won’t take long before this team will be pushing for the top.” 

Q: You still have the second leg tomorrow, what’s being said the players ahead of that fixture? 

“Yeah, it’s much the same again. Listen, we knew it was going to be tough being 6/7 players down. But it’s going to be an experience for the kids; they will have to play hard, and they will get a taste of top-end playoff hockey. They should take it for what it is: an experience and a learning curve.” 

Q: What changes are going to be made ahead of tomorrow? 

“We’re short on players again tomorrow, with us losing another 3 or 4. So, again, a bit more of that defensive hockey. It’s a smaller rink in Billingham, so everyone will be on top of each other. We will be looking after our own end and looking to hit them on the counter.” 

Q: You’re retiring at the end of the season how would you sum up your career? 

“It’s been a long one but an enjoyable one. Probably 8 or 9 years ago, I had the decision to stop or keep playing and help the development in Nottingham. I’m not the best player; I’m slow now, lost a little bit of everything! But if I can give my experience to just one of these players and see them go further, then job done.” 

Q: What would you say has been your career highlight?  

“Won a couple of league titles. To be fair, probably when Lions won the league, cup, the playoffs, and Nationals all in one season. So, that was probably the best Lions team we’ve had here in its history.” 

It’s clear to see the impact Luke has had on not only the Nottingham Lions but Nottingham hockey as a whole. Just from this interview you can see how important the development of the young players is to Luke which has seen him become the Nottingham U16 head coach this season. He will leave a lasting legacy within Nottingham hockey. Congratulations on a great career Luke and thank you for your time! 

*Article provided by Joe Maciag (Ice Hockey Correspondent).

*Main image @eliteprospects Luke Clouting-Thomas in action for Nottingham Lions.

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