Nfld. & Labrador

What's it like watching your son in the world juniors? Pretty thrilling, says Newhook family

With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a damper on viewing parties, Alex Newhook's family finds themselves struggling to keep up with the text messages and video calls while their boy is on the ice.

Alex Newhook has made many people in N.L. proud with performance so far

Canada's Alex Newhook scores a goal on Germany's goalie Jonas Gahr during second-period action in Edmonton on Dec. 26. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a damper on viewing parties, Alex Newhook's parents find themselves struggling to keep up with the flood of text messages and video calls while their boy is on the ice.

Lucky for Shawn Newhook, the games are all taped, so he can get up early and watch them over again with an analytical eye.

They are delighted to see their son in a starring role as Team Canada looks for its second consecutive gold medal at the world junior hockey championships in Edmonton.

"With the whole bubble stuff, it's harder this year to keep the numbers small but we certainly are adhering," said Paula Newhook. "We text and FaceTime and try to keep the excitement alive."

Paula, Abby and Shawn Newhook are more than 6,000 kilometres from Edmonton, but the distance hasn't limited the excitement of watching Alex Newhook in the world junior hockey championships. (Paula Newhook/Twitter)

Their family was overwhelmed by all the positivity emanating from households around the province after Alex Newhook and fellow Newfoundlander Dawson Mercer lit the lamp twice each in a 16-2 drubbing of Germany on Boxing Day.

Both teenagers have played a prominent role in Canada's unbeaten round robin. Newhook, though, suffered an upper-body injury in Thursday's game against Finland and is a question mark for Canada's quarterfinal game Saturday night against the Czech Republic.

Canada's Alex Newhook suffers injury after collision with Viro

Sports

7 months ago
0:24
Team Canada forward Alex Newhook collides with Finland's Eemil Viro, ends up leaving the game and does not return. 0:24

Speaking to CBC's St. John's Morning Show before their son was injured, the Newhooks said it had been a tough road leading up to the tournament.

Newhook had to quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Alberta for training camp. When he had two days left to go, a player tested positive and Hockey Canada decided to lock everyone down for a further 14 days.

Shawn Newhook said the experience was a challenge, but the father and son spoke often — despite being 6,000 kilometres and a few time zones apart.

"I think I've talked to him probably more than ever because he's been bored," Shawn said.

Special shout-out for sister

Shawn and Paula have another child with a shot to play for Team Canada someday.

Their daughter Abby is a smooth skater who stood out in competition with the boys before heading south of the border to play women's hockey. She got a shout-out on TSN during one of her brother's games last week.

"[Alex] might not be the best player in his family," said play-by-play announcer Gord Miller. "His sister Abby is heading to Boston College next year on a scholarship and she's an outstanding player as well." 

Abby figures her brother played a part in that. He took time at the NHL draft in 2019 to turn the spotlight on his sister, telling people she was the better player in the family.

"It's definitely pretty cool to get a shout-out from anyone, especially on TSN," she said. "We've both worked very hard to get where we are today. I think a lot of this has to do with Alex always bringing me in. When he has his moment, he always brings me in under. I think that's really cool that someone can share their success and be like that."

They may just be the proudest parents in St. John's this season. We speak to Paula and Shawn Newhook, whose son Alex is one of two Newfoundlanders at the World Juniors, as well as with their daughter Abby... who's no slouch on the ice either! 10:13

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show

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