Nfld. & Labrador

Alex Newhook of St. John's drafted 16th overall by Colorado Avalanche in NHL Entry Draft

Alex Newhook of St. John's has been drafted 16th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft Friday night in Vancouver.

Newhook had 102 points for the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL during most recent season

Alex Newhook takes questions from the media just after being selected in the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver Friday night. (Colorado Avalanche/Twitter)

Alex Newhook of St. John's is living every young hockey player's dream of making it to the National Hockey League.

The 18-year-old centre was drafted 16th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft Friday night in Vancouver.

Newhook had 102 points for the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL during the 2018-2019 season.

He joins an ever-growing list of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to be drafted into the NHL and is the first from the province to be taken in the first round since Daniel Cleary in 1997.

Newhook was joined in Vancouver by his family and some excited friends from his home province.

'I'm very fortunate to be here'

"I think it all started once I first stepped on the ice, just always wanting to better myself, always wanting to do as much as I can while I'm on the ice. I think it carried with me throughout my career so far," Newhook told Tara Slone of Sportsnet  only moments after walking off of the draft stage. 

"It's brought me a lot of places. I'm very fortunate to be here right now."   

This has been a big week for Newhook.

He just finished his last exams, graduated high school and is now a first-round pick of an NHL franchise.

In the weeks leading up to the draft, Newhook had interviews with 27 different NHL teams. It's a little like sports-based speed dating.

Alex Newhook was chosen in the first round during Friday's NHL entry draft. (CJHL/Twitter)

"Mostly they just try to get to know you a little bit, asking you a bit about your game, but a pretty laid-back situation," Newhook said.

"The teams are pretty cool about it."

Newhook said before he was picked that he's been a Calgary fan his whole life, but would be happy to be picked by any franchise.

"I don't really have a hopeful team or a team I really hope I go to. I mean, any team is so good in the NHL and the franchises are unreal, so wherever I end up, it's going to be exciting," he told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

The NHL is the goal for many a hockey hopeful, and Newhook had always dreamed of making it to the big leagues, but the possibility of being drafted in the first round was still surreal.

"It's pretty exciting. Even being in the conversation of being a first-round pick in your draft year, it's pretty special," he said.

"It's a situation where not a lot of people find themselves. Something I'm very proud of. Obviously anything can happen on draft day, but it's something I'm definitely very proud of."

Sacrifices made

It's an amazing achievement, but it didn't come without sacrifice.

At 14, Newhook moved away to boarding school so he could play hockey at a higher competitive level, leaving his friends, younger sister and parents behind in St. John's.

Alex Newhook was named MVP in the Canadian Junior Hockey League this season. (Victoria Grizzlies/Twitter)

"They've put in a lot of work to get me to this point, they sacrificed a lot, so it's a special weekend for them as much as it is for me," Newhook said of his family's support.

The entire Newhook family — including 14-year-old rising hockey star Abby Newhook, who like her brother before her also has been given a full scholarship to Boston College when she graduates high school — were in Vancouver to attend the draft.

"It's awesome to have that relationship. She's done so well for herself up to this point and she's such a great person," Newhook said of his sister.

"To be able to share this with her today, it's super special."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Stephanie Tobin and the St. John's Morning Show

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