Nfld. & Labrador

N.L.'s Alex Newhook makes AHL debut, with a goal and assist in second game

Alex Newhook's debut was a welcome surprise for his family, who had been waiting for almost two weeks to see him lace up his skates for the Colorado Eagles.

"It's been a pretty cool ride for sure," said Shawn Newhook

Paula and Shawn Newhook got to watch their son, Alex Newhook, play his first professional hockey game from their home in St. John's. (CBC Here & Now)

Alex Newhook's AHL debut Tuesday was a welcome surprise for his family, who had been waiting for almost two weeks to see him lace up his skates for the Colorado Eagles.

Now the 20-year-old centre from St. John's is one step closer to his dream of playing in the National Hockey League, after playing in his first two professional games.

Newhook's biggest fans — his parents, Shawn and Paula Newhook — were cheering him on from over 5,000 kilometres away.

"It was really exciting, obviously," Paula Newhook, Alex's mother, said Saturday. "The excitement had kind of been building for about two weeks...He finally got the call, so obviously we're very excited, as was he."

Alex Newhook was drafted 16th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2019 NHL entry draft, and has spent the majority of the past year playing at Boston College in Massachusetts. He recently signed his first professional contract with the Avalanche, but he had been sidelined for nearly two weeks while waiting for his immigration documents to come through so he could play his inaugural game with the Avalanche's farm team, the Colorado Eagles.

Newhook tallied his first two professional points in his second game, with a goal and an assist against the Bakersfield Condors.

"The assist was a real good look. Both of the points were top quality," said his father, Shawn. "I think with that type of stuff, it's nice to get it out of the way a bit earlier. The longer that goes on, that can kind of drag on and kind of grind on you a little bit."

Missing milestones

Both parents said they've been fortunate to travel to see their son play across North America over the course of his career. But the pandemic has kept the family apart, which they call challenging — and it also meant they couldn't be there in person to see Alex play for Team Canada at the 2020 world junior championship in December.

"You're missing out on some real milestones. It grinds on you a little bit, but what do you do?" his father said. "You just got to move on and be thankful that you can actually see it."

Paul said this has been the longest stretch since he left at 14 that they haven't seen him.

"Not getting home for Christmas because of the world juniors and stuff. Just missing those opportunities, it's been very difficult."

Newhook scored his first professional goal against the Bakerfield Condors on Wednesday. (Colorado Eagles/Facebook)

But Paula said the family has stayed in constant contact, including getting together in a group call when Alex found out he would be playing Tuesday night.

"It was actually great timing," she said. "Shawn and [Alex's sister] Abby had commented that 'it's getting kind of late now, I'm guessing he's not going to play.' And within minutes, he FaceTimed us all so we were actually all together when we got the call. Which was great," she said.

Paula and Shawn said they've felt the support from fans across the province as Alex continues on his journey to the NHL.

"The amount of support, honestly, that he and we have received in the last couple years has been overwhelming. The number of people that have reached out to Alex, he comments on it all the time," she said.

"It's been a pretty cool ride for sure," Shawn added. "We're super-proud.… But to me, there's still lots of work to do … [to] keep moving forward."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Kennedy works for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John's.

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