MELBOURNE, Australia (KDKA) - The NHL went down under for its preseason "Global Series" this week, but it was someone closer to home who made his presence felt in his first taste of professional action on Friday night.
When the Arizona Coyotes took on the Los Angeles Kings at midnight Eastern time, it was West Mifflin native and third overall pick Logan Cooley who stole the show with a highlight reel goal.
Cooley received a pass from defenseman J.J. Moser in the neutral zone and proceeded to use a spin move to beat defenseman Andreas England. While falling down, he was able to beat Kings' goaltender Pheonix Copley for a dazzling goal that would give the Coyotes a 4-1 lead.
The Pittsburgh native was selected third overall by the Coytoes in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, making him the highest draft pick to come out of the city.
A 2004 birthyear player, Cooley got his start in hockey in 2008 as part of Sidney Crosby's "Little Penguins" program, an initiative that provides local athletes who can't afford hockey equipment a chance to play the game.
From there, Cooley became a must-see prospect, spending time with the Penguins Elite program, the U.S. National Development Program, and then spent a season with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in the NCAA.
In that one season, Cooley scored 22 goals and 38 assists for 60 points in just 39 games.
While it was expected Cooley would return to the Gophers this upcoming season, he made headlines when he decided to forego his sophomore season and turn pro with Arizona.
In May, he announced his decision to return to Minnesota but ultimately reversed course when he signed his entry-level deal with the Coyotes in July.
He made the announcement via social media, saying, "When I posted about coming back to school a few months ago, I was fully planning to return for my sophomore season. Over the past months, I have realized that deep down, I feel ready for the challenge of playing at the highest level in the world and I want to fulfill my lifelong dream of being an NHL player."
As the Arizona Coyotes attempt to pull themselves out of the basement of the NHL standings, they're hoping young players like Cooley and others will be part of the team's future.
He'll join others like Clayton Keller and Conor Geekie who are part of what is believed to be one of the better young rosters.
Cooley and the Coyotes head to Pittsburgh for a 7:00 p.m. matchup at PPG Paints Arena on December 12.
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