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Luke Karakas ’19 (left) takes the ice with his father, Kipp Karakas ’88.

Hockey Legacy Lives On

Luke Karakas ’19 has played hockey most of his life, a good portion of it on teams coached by his father, Kipp Karakas ’88. The younger Karakas is thoroughly enjoying his time on a St. Norbert College men’s hockey team that features his dad as an assistant coach. Luke plays right wing while Kipp coaches the goaltenders – a position Kipp himself once held in club sport days at St. Norbert.

“I grew up playing for him since I was 4 years old,” Luke says. “I had a lot of fun playing for him, don’t get me wrong, but there were a lot of funny stories that came out of him getting mad. One time, he broke a stick on a post and then hit it again to make a point. Luckily, I was on the other end of the ice so he didn’t see me laugh.”

Kipp is the first to admit he was hard on his son while serving as head coach of Luke’s youth teams and then his Green Bay United high school team. The combination of high expectations for his son and a desire to avoid showing favoritism, channeled through Kipp’s competitive spirit, was a recipe for what Luke refers to as “a lot of red face” for his dad. “I was probably way too hard on him. I know I was,” Kipp admits. “It got better as he got older and I got wiser. Over the years, our relationship has developed into a friendship. I’m his biggest fan, but I’m his biggest critic.”

Luke’s post-high school hockey career took a typically circuitous route across North America’s junior hockey ranks before he landed a spot on the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s roster for his freshman season of eligibility. He found himself the odd man out on an overloaded roster his sophomore season, and at his father’s suggestion, Luke called Coach Tim Coghlin to inquire about a roster spot.

“I liked the kid because of his high character and he worked really hard to get where he was,” Coghlin says. “Clearly in our minds, we felt he could compete at this level and we offered him a spot. He ended up earning two pretty significant awards last year: Hit Man of the Year and Most Improved Player.” Luke, who also plays golf for the college, is completing his final year of NCAA eligibility this season. “Now that I’m here at St. Norbert, [my dad] is one of my favorite coaches because he’s able to keep it light. He doesn’t feel the pressure of being the head coach.”

“I really don’t have much interaction with him at the rink,” Kipp adds. “I have some input on playing time during coaches’ meetings, but I’m cognizant of when they talk about Luke and I don’t say a word.”


Cross Fit
At first glance, hockey and golf appear to have little in common. One is a fast-paced, physical team sport played on ice; the other a leisurely, non-contact, individual sport best enjoyed on a warm day. But Luke Karakas ’19 proves that some skill sets do cross over. 

“The ability to transfer your weight comes into play in both sports,” explains the two-sport Green Knight. “Creating torque is the biggest thing. Clearing your hips and getting your arms through on a puck or a golf ball is what makes that object go. I’m a longer hitter in golf, but I wouldn’t be if I didn’t play hockey.”

Nov 10, 2017