Skating a path to the NHL: Newfoundlander Alex Newhook heading to Boston on hockey scholarship
St. John's native took league scoring title in Ontario triple-A last season
A teen from St. John's has the next few years of his career planned out as he works toward his goal of becoming a professional hockey player.
Alex Newhook, 16, will soon be playing with the Victoria Grizzlies in the British Columbia Hockey League, and has already taken a scholarship to play with the NCAA Boston College Eagles when he reaches university age.
Nothing is set in stone after that, but Newhook said like many young hockey players, he definitely visualizes himself going to the NHL.
"It's cool to look at yourself there and it's cool to see that it is possible," he told CBC Radio's the St. John's Morning Show.
"That it could be me someday, if I keep working hard and everything pans out the way it could."
Newhook first left home when he was 14 to play hockey at a prep school in Aurora, Ont. During his two years there he got more serious about the sport and eventually got picked up by Victoria at 16 — the youngest age possible.
I think the NCAA path ... gives you more time to develop before potentially going pro.- Alex Newhook
During his last year playing in Ontario, Newhook took the league scoring title with 82 points in 40 games.
His mother Paula told CBC it wasn't easy seeing her son leave home at such a young age, but she has absolutely no regrets.
"We kind of had to let him follow his dream and, after a couple months of being at St. Andrews, we realized it was the right decision," she said.
"Just seeing what he was accomplishing being away and the stats he was putting up in hockey, he was a very happy kid and he reassured us that it was the right move."
The college path
There's more than one path Newhook could have taken to pursue his NHL dreams, such as playing with a major juniors league like the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league.
Instead, he decided to go the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) route by accepting the Boston College scholarship, which will let him complete a university degree while developing his skills and reputation on the ice.
"I think the NCAA path, as opposed to the major junior path, is kind of a path where it gives you more time to develop before potentially going pro," he said.
"It also gives you your schooling right there. So even if something doesn't happen, if I get injured or something happens, I still get my degree right there."
With files from St. John's Morning Show