By Martin Cleary
When Luke Posthumus looks into his future, the end goal appears clear, promising and fulfilling.
On May 7, the gifted Nepean Raiders U18 AAA player let the social media world know he had committed to attend Northeastern University on an athletic scholarship.
But the major, unanswered question for Posthumus is when will he officially walk onto the campus in Boston to study business, perhaps, and begin playing hockey for the Huskies.
It certainly won’t be the 2022-23 academic year as Posthumus will be a Grade 12 student at the Peak Academy in Kanata.
Well, maybe in 2023-24. Don’t hold your breath because he is planning to make that his gap year, take some academic courses and play for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League. The Lumberjacks major junior team selected Posthumus in Phase 2 of its 2022 draft. They drafted him in round 11 and 163rd overall.
Then he must be heading to Northeastern for the 2024-25 year. Not necessarily. Depending how his hockey skills are developing, he may want to spend his final year of junior eligibility on the Lumberjacks’ roster.
So, when will Posthumus, who was a dynamic player for the Raiders in the 2021-22 season, become a true student/athlete at Northeastern?
That will only happen when the six-foot, 180-pound forward feels he is 100 per cent ready to make the move to the university game and the Huskies’ and Lumberjacks’ coaching staffs agree.
“It all depends when I’m ready. I’m not sure,” said Posthumus, 17, when asked about what year he will become a Northeastern freshman. “Maybe, I’ll delay it a year.
“I will take my Grade 12 and then spend a year in the USHL. I’ll take that gap year and some extra courses so I’ll be more prepared for Northeastern. At Muskegon, I could be there one or two years. It depends when I’ll be ready to jump into the (university) league.”
This is not a unique situation. Muskegon has been preparing American centre Jack Williams for four years (three full seasons) and the team captain is expected to join Northeastern in 2022-23.
“Posthumus has multiple options for his junior hockey,” Mike Davis wrote in the Northeastern Hockey Blog to announce Posthumus had committed to Northeastern. “At this point, we can’t say where he is headed, but we would hope that he gets some time in the USHL before enrolling so he can continue to hone his craft against the best competition possible.”
Coming off an exceptional final year in minor hockey, Posthumus has confidently put the building blocks in place for his future.
“It’s a great path. I’m still early in my development,” he added.
After the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020-21 season, he excelled for the Nepean Raiders during the 2021-22 campaign.
In 32 regular-season games, Posthumus scored 38 goals and contributed 43 assists for 81 points, while taking only 14 minutes in penalties. He was the scoring champion in the Hockey Eastern Ontario U18 AAA league, the MVP and helped the Raiders win their regular-season league and playoff titles as well as the bronze medal at the Ontario U18 championship. It was the first time an Ottawa team had earned a medal at the provincial tournament.
When his U18 season finished, he was called up to play for the Nepean Raiders junior A team of the CCHL. He played six games, scored one goal and had one minor penalty.
Posthumus is thrilled to be moving to the next level in 2022-23 as the CCHL Raiders will be coached by Jerrett DeFazio, who was his head coach with the U18 AAA team and the league coach of the year.
“He knows how I play and I know how he coaches. Jerrett DeFazio has coached me the last two years and he has helped my development,” he said.
“He knows how you have to mentally go into a game. He always asks you ‘what do you think?’ He may not be right every time, but the results are there. He asks for feedback and makes you feel that you are contributing.”
Posthumus will enter his first full season in the CCHL with the Raiders already having a taste of what it’s all about.
“It was great to get in a couple of games, but I didn’t play much,” he said. “I was on the third or fourth line, but it was a great opportunity to learn at the next level. They’re older and better and I got to play against older guys.
“This will obviously help my development. I know the pace (of the game).”
At the 2021 OHL Priority Draft, Posthumus was selected by the Oshawa Generals 121st overall in the seventh round.
“I wasn’t thinking of going to university at the time, when I was drafted,” said Posthumus, who had 29 goals and 30 assists in 30 games for the Ottawa Senators U15 AAA team in his 2019-20 season.
“I went to the Oshawa training camp, but only for two days. That’s the maximum time you can be at a camp or you lose your NCAA eligibility. When I got back to Nepean, I had interest from NCAA schools.”
Posthumus checked out seven universities, which included two official visits, before selecting Northeastern over the University of New Hampshire. Both universities offered him full athletic scholarships.
“I like the (Northeastern) coach and how he looked at the game,” Posthumus explained. “I can see myself playing there in a couple of years. I will take a couple more years to develop and to make an immediate impact.”
Swimmer Regan Rathwell broke her right foot a month before the 2022 world aquatic championship trials and not the 2021 Summer Olympic Games trials. High Achievers: Stay-Safe Edition apologizes for the error in Monday’s High School Best story.
Read More in our 2022 High School Best Series, presented by Louis-Riel Sports-Études, as we tip our caps to top local student-athletes at:
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the High Achievers “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.
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