Several lines have been written recently about Oliver Moore, the Blackhawks' 19th overall pick, which has not referred to his skating abilities.
He was named the best skater in the 2023 draft class. Hawks, who prioritized skating above anything else during the Kyle Davidson era, loved him for that reason. Her Minneapolis-based figure skating coach, Katie McDonough, has been widely praised for helping perfect her powerful and efficient stride.
But there's a lot more to Moore than just skating. Shawna and Brian Moore – Oliver's parents – have seen him firsthand over the past six years, watching their son evolve from a three-sport kid who enjoys hockey to an elite hockey prospect.
“Whatever he's done, he's done well, and he's worked really, really hard,” said Brian. “A lot is made of skating, but he wouldn't be where he is without more of it. He's very dedicated in the weight room and[to]nutrition and learning the game and trying new things when he's on the ice.
“They talk a lot about his ‘level of competition,' but that's it. He's gone, all the time.”
It was around age 12 when Moore fully committed to the sport, adopting Malcolm Gladwell's adage that mastery takes 10,000 hours of practice, says Shawna. He started working with McDonough and shooting puck non-stop in the family garage with his older brother, Howie.
The US National Team Development Program began scouting him around age 14, and two years later—after dominating the Minneapolis high school circuit—he accepted the invitation. He has 39 points in 43 games for the under-17s in 2021-22, then 75 points in 61 games for the under-18s in 2022-23.
Coincidentally, Rod Braceful, who recruited Moore to the NTDP, left at that time to become the Hawks' amateur scout. It helped kick off Hawks' longstanding interest in Moore.
On the night of the June 28 draft, Davidson desperately tried to trade for Moore – who most mock drafts projected to be in the 10 to 15 range – but was unable to find a trade partner.
Simultaneously in the stands at Bridgestone Arena, the Moores heard about the Hawks' efforts but were unable to discuss them publicly as they were being made for a documentary.
“We went 10, 11, 12 and I could see (Oliver) getting tense,” said Shawna Moore. “We just (continued) body language, communicating, ‘It's okay, right?' Any team would be amazing and great. . . but I thought, ‘Boy, I hope he makes it to the Blackhawks.' ”
When she slipped to 19th place — apparently a blessing in disguise — the family's reaction was “full of lightning and glee,” Shawna said. Oliver admits he “passed out”.
Not only will Chicago be within driving distance of Minneapolis once Moore makes the NHL jump – he will first spend a year or two at the University of Minnesota – but he will also lead the Hawks' rise alongside top pick Connor Bedard. They had become fast friends in development camp.
“Right after the draft, (Bedard and I) were already talking about going to the gym and getting ready for work,” Moore said. “It has rubbed off on me, his work ethic and the way he carries himself.”
“I think the same,” said Bedard. “[Moore is]a very hard worker, and he's very competitive – he doesn't like it when he loses a spikeball. It's been great knowing him. He's a special player. His off-ice habits and work ethic are great to see.
Davidson was very happy to read the comments.
“That's what you want,” said Davidson. “It's culture.[When]you see players coming in, and they've dictated positive behavior, that's the goal you're looking for. And we have a lot of things in the room.