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He's the first Newfoundlander taken in the opening round of the NHL Entry Draft in over two decades
Newfoundland and Labrador has waited quite a while to see a player from this province selected in the first round of the National Hockey League Entry Draft.
The waiting is over.
The Colorado Avalanche made Alex Newhook of St. John's the 16th overall pick in Friday's NHL draft in Vancouver and the first Newfoundlander taken in the opening round since 1997, when Daniel Cleary was chosen 13th by the Chicago Blackhawks.
The 18-year-old Newhook, who is set to attend Boston College this fall, spent the last two seasons with the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League. In 2018-19, as the Grizzlies' captain, he led the BCHL with 102 points (38 goals, 64 assists), and was named the most valuable player in the league and in all of Canadian junior A hockey. In addition, he played for Canada at the world under-18 championship, tying for the team lead in scoring, with five goals and five assists.
In 2015, as a 14-year-old bantam-aged player, Newhook went to Ontario to play minor hockey in the metro Toronto area and to attend St. Andrew's College prep school. Then, as a 16-year-old, he complete his cross-country journey by going to Victoria.
After he was drafted Friday, Newhook was interviewed by Tara Slone of Sportsnet, who asked about the motivation that led him to leave home at a young age.
“I just always wanted to better myself, always wanted to do as much as I can when I'm on the ice, “ said Newhook. “I think it's (something I) carried with me throughout my career. It's brought me a lot of places. I'm very fortunate to be here right now.”
Describing Newhook as a coast-to-coast player has something more to do than just with his geographical travels. Former NHL general manager Brian Burke, now an analyst for Sportsnet, raved about the young Newfoundlander's skating.
“This guy's a greyhound. This guy can skate, make plays at full speed ,” said Burke. “This guy is the best pure skater, I would say, in this draft and his journey indicates how determined he's going to be.
“I think it's a really good pick.”
Newhook attended the draft with his parents, Paula and Shawn, and with his 16-year-old sister Abby, a fine pl;ayer in her own right; she's also committed to eventually attend and play for Boston College.
“She's such a great person, to be able to share it with her today, is super special,” said her brother.