When he was carried off the ice in 2015, Phoenix Knights goalie Luke Eddie Stripp didn’t know he’d just suffered a career-ending injury.
He’d had his share of injuries over five year of goaltending, and usually managed to bounce back.
“They told me it was going to be two weeks,” Stripp recalled.
Stripp, a promising goalie from B.C. with a potential pro career ahead of him, never returned to the game.
The 2015-2016 season playing for the Gilbert, Arizona, Knights in the western division of the Western States Hockey League would be his last.
Five years later, Stripp still doesn’t walk too far, or run too long.
He’d always had an artistic side, but it wasn’t a priority, the way hockey was, he recalled.
“I drew a bit, but I wasn’t known as an arts guy.”
That changed while he was in hospital.
“The only thing I could do was something stationary,” Stripp told the Langley Advance Times.
“That’s pretty much all I did, every day, was art.”
Which is why Stripp was having the conversation in his just-opened art gallery in Langley City.
Located at 20435 Fraser Hwy, “Luke Eddie Stripp Original Artworks” features more than 200 original paintings, bold, brightly coloured original works of art that cover a wide range of subjects, everything from people and portraits, to flowers, music, nostalgia, symbolism, tropic and animal themes, vehicles and drinks.
“It’s kind of how I’m feeling in the moment,” he said.
Stripp started out using a small room in his parents’ basement, selling his paintings online. He found success, and in December, opened the Langley art gallery.
He is planning to expand to the Caribbean, once the pandemic eases, and after that, New York, LA and Las Vegas.
Business has been “pretty good,” Stripp allowed.
These days, the Langley City resident calls the on-ice injury that ended his playing career “a blessing.”
Stripp isn’t the first former goalie to reinvent himself as an artist.
Former Canucks goaltender Richard Brodeur, who earned the nickname “King Richard” in eight seasons in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks, is a regular presence at art shows in the Langley area, showing his abstract paintings as well as nature scenes and images of Canadiana, often kids playing hockey.
Stripp actually had a chance to meet Brodeur a while ago, but art didn’t come up in the conversation.
“We spoke more about hockey,” Stripp smiled.