The Chiefs selected goalie Cooper Michaluk in the sixth round (119th overall) of the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft. The Sherwood Park native recently reflected on his draft experience in an introductory Question & Answer interview:
Q: What was your draft day experience like?
Michaluk: My grandparents were over and they and my mom and dad and I were all watching and all of the sudden through our team group chat, my name had popped up saying “Congrats, Cooper” and I hadn’t even seen it on the TV yet.
Q: Is there anybody either at the WHL or NHL level you feel closely captures the style of player you are?
Michaluk: Yeah, Andrei Vasilevskiy on the Tampa Bay Lightning. I feel like I have a lot of him in my game. His athleticism translates into how I play, and his ability to track the puck all the time–I feel like I do a great job of doing that on the ice too.
Q: What one part of your game do you take the most pride in?
Michaluk: My quickness and movement in the crease. I feel like that’s a real strong suit for me.
Q: Who is somebody in the WHL you would most look forward to playing with or against?
Michaluk: No specific player really sticks out, but I would just love to play in the WHL. It’s always been a goal to even make it and play a couple of years and enjoy the experience. I’d like to play every team, go for a run in the Memorial Cup, but here’s no specific player I’d particularly like to play with or against or anything. Besides maybe those big players in Spokane like Jack Finley–I heard he’s a really good player and would be awesome to play with.
Q: How were you first introduced to hockey?
Michaluk: My dad was a big fan of hockey and he kind of got me into it I’d say, just always watching it on TV, and then I finally played Initiation a couple of times. It was kind of funny because I never really enjoyed being in Initiation. Whenever I’d have to go in net I’d get upset because I always wanted to be the goal-scorer on the ice, but then come Novice, it finally hit me, “I could stick with this and possibly make a career out of it.”
Q: What is something you’re interested in or passionate about that’s unrelated to hockey?
Michaluk: I like to cook a lot. I do a lot of barbecuing at home and stove top cooking. My go-to is probably chicken wings on the grill.
Q: Have you put any thought into what type of career you might want to pursue if you chose not to continue playing hockey?
Michaluk: I’ve always wanted to pursue an education in Biology and all the sciences. That’s my main interest at the college level.
Q: What’s something you’d want to tell Chiefs fans about you as a player?
Michaluk: I’m pretty vocal. I like to talk to my defensemen and make sure they know what’s going on. I’m also pretty aggressive in my net–I play out and go for pucks that I know I can get to.